New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings
(March 14, 1997)


CITY COUNCIL
CITY OF NEW YORK
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THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE MINUTES of the

COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

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March 14, 1997
Start:
3:05 p.m.
Recess: 3:50 p.m.
City Hall
Public Hearing Chambers

BEFORE:
ARCHIE SPIGNER, Chairperson,

COUNCIL MEMBERS:

Thomas V. Ognibene
Antonio Pagan
Stanley E. Michels
Frederico Perez
Andrew S. Eristoff
Guillermo Linares
Helen M. Marshall
Mary Pinkett


COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND BUILDINGS

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: This is the resumed hearing of the recessed
meeting on the Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings of
March 11.

In light of the eight hours of testimony that day, the Chair
feels the issues are sufficiently clear and there will be no need
for any more public testimony to assist us in arriving at a
decision on these measures.

The first items on todayís continuing agenda are Intro. Number
930, and Reso. 2208, introduced by Council Member Michels and a
large number of other Members; Fields, Leffler, Linares, Duane,
Eisland, Eldridge, Eristoff, Fisher, Miller, Freed, Povman and
Albanese, that's 930.

On 2208 are Council Members; Michels, Fields, Leffler, Linares,
Duane, Eisland, Eldridge, Eristoff, Miller, Freed, Povman, and
Albanese.

Council Member Michels, you wanted to speak briefly on these two
measures.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: Yes. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I put forward the these two items and I urge their passage. I
think they are extremely important, one being a resolution, and
the other one being an Intro. I believe that since passage of
Local Law 4 in 1993, there is ample evidence that those things
which we said were going to happen in a destructive manner to the
rent regulations of this City have, in fact, occurred. These
bills, in effect, this Intro. 930, in effect, says that because
of all of these evils perpetrated as far as -- I withdraw that
remark.

Because of all of the defects in Local Law 4, we have seen a
terrible erosion of the rent regulation of this City. We are --
we believe that itís extremely important that we continue rent
regulation because this housing is badly needed for the middle-
class and because it's needed, as well, for the lower- and
working-class of this City. It's a limited amount of housing in
this City. There are only a little over million units.

We need it for the working-class of this City. If we don't have
this housing, and if we don't have the rent regulated so they are
affordable -- we are finding there is an extraordinary amount of
percentage of the income of these people of being well over 35,
40, sometime 50 percent of their income is being spent, we're
going to lose those people. They will not be able to afford to
live in this City. We'll end up with a City of rich people and
their servants living here.

What we have seen is an erosion of the rent regulations to the
extent that this bill allowed on a apartment by apartment basis,
incremental basis that which State Senator Bruno, he wants to do
on a wholesale basis, that is completely phase out and destroy
rent regulations, rent control.

We have seen the Department of Housing and Community Renewal of
the State which regulates our system completely wash their hands
of regulation, in my opinion. And allowing apartments not only
which are rented for $2,000, those which are not rented for
$2,000, allowing them, contrary to our wishes and contrary to
what was the intent of Local Law 4, which I voted against. I
thought it was going to be subject to abuse. To go up to the
$2,000 level through sometimes real and sometimes not so real
capital improvements, major capital improvement and such.

But from the way DHCR acted, they acted in such a manner that
they had not overseen or supervised at all. The landlords were
able and some unscrupulous landlords were unable to say that we
are going to decontrol the apartment no matter what the rent is
and without being held accountable. Therefore, giving an
incentive, in my opinion, to harassment of tenants that would be
reminiscent of what took place between 1971 and 1974 in this
City, as result of actions of the State. Resulting in rent
skyrocketing even and further in this City causing a real panic
and a problem. We have had hearings after hearings in
constituencies, council Member Guillermo Linares and I.

The real fear in the hearts of the people as to what is taking
place is something that really bothers us to a great extent.

That door we want to close. We're saying in this legislation that
as of April 1st, 1997, we are not going to have any more
deregulation of apartments and rent stabilizing and rent control
apartments, whether it's $2,000 or more or whatever, because of
the abuse and the failure of the supervising agency on the State
level to see it's administered properly.

The Resolution pertains to the luxury decontrol rather than the
luxury vacancy decontrol, which is covered by 930. Again, the
State agency has allowed confusion to run amok and not see to it
that it's properly regulated. They were allowing an abuse of
situations where a person living in an apartment, which was not
rented for $2,000 or was not -- when a person was not earning
$250,000 for two consecutive years. The forms would be sent by
the landlord which were reminiscent of -- looked very much like
the State forms. Then the State forms would come and the tenant
did not send the form back or was a little bit late, they would
find that their apartment was deregulated, even though it was not
supposed to be deregulate at all, because it did not meet the
$250,000 income level of two consecutive years.

They just foreclosed it completely and didnít give them a chance,
but added to the confusion by seeing to it that the two forms
look so similar that when the tenant received them, they thought
they already sent out the form. I can go on and on talking about
the agency and the way these laws have been administered.

It leads to the conclusion that there is no question in my mind,
that the State agency either purposely or by negligence was
destroying the rent regulated apartments in this City. Therefore,
harming the people of this City and causing great pain to people
of this City. There must be an end to this and this legislation
calls for an end. That's why I urge to vote for both Resolution
2208 and Intro. Number 930 and both be passed.

Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Council Member Linares, you have asked to be
recognized.

COUNCIL MEMBER LINARES: Yes.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I take the opportunity to share that I'm in full agreement with
the statement that was just made by my colleague, Council Member
Stanley Michels. I'm in full agreement with the implications of
the law that was passed in 1994. The evidence is very clear, it
is there. The impact that it has particularly in communities
throughout the City, such as the one that I and Stanley Michels
represent. It has a high concentration of rent regulated
apartments.

I think it's clear that when this was approved, deregulation was
approved in '94, there was more than simply looking at the
wealthy and the well-to-do. This was an attempt to undermine a
system that brings balance and allows working people and middle-
class to stay here. I think this is spelling a future that will
see a massive exodus of working people of New York City, middle-
class, and this is very dangerous.

That's why I voted against in Committee, against Local Law 4 when
it was first introduced. I am a sponsor along with my colleagues
of rescinding this legislation. I believe this is the opportunity
to do that, and I would like to urge my colleagues in this
Committee to vote in favor of both Resolution 2208 and Intro.
930.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Okay.

We're going to take Intro. 930 for a vote and 2208, the
Resolution. I think when we take up Intro. 920-A, which has been
amended substantially, I will read the changes that have been
made at that time, we'll clearly demonstrate that major
accommodations have been made to address issues raised in 930 and
2208. A no vote on these two issues is appropriate.

Roll call, please.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Spigner.

COUNCIL MEMBER SPIGNER: No.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Michels.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: Mr. Chair, may I be temporarily excused
to explain my vote. In brief, what I'm saying, what was intended
in Local Law 4, which I did not support, that it be luxury
decontrol. What we have found it was not luxury decontrol. It is
decontrol -- vacancy decontrol. That to me speaks volumes as to
what took place here.

I therefore vote aye on both 930 and 2208.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Malave-Dilan.

Linares.

COUNCIL MEMBER LINARES: I vote yes on Resolution 2208, and yes on
Intro. 930.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Pagan.

COUNCIL MEMBER PAGAN: I vote no on both.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Perez.

COUNCIL MEMBER PEREZ: No on both.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Marshall.

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: Pass.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Ognibene.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: Pass.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Marshall.

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: I want to pass again.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: You can do what you want to do.

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: I pass.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Ognibene.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: Pass.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Should I call a recess?

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: I was torn on this, actually. I hadn't
realized that my colleagues who spoke had so many apartments in
their district renting for $2,000 or more. I know that's not a
concern in my district. I am troubled -- actually troubled that
the law effects them so intensely, but pleased to see that upper
Manhattan is doing so well financially.

Notwithstanding that, I think that maybe we ought to address
issues that effect some of our poorer districts in this City
rather than concentrating on protecting the wealthy as my
colleagues wish to do. Under those circumstances, I'll vote no.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Continue the roll call.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Marshall.

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: Yes on both.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: By a vote of three in the affirmative, four
in the negative and no abstentions, the item is defeated.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Okay.

Moving onto proposed Intro. 920-A, resolution 2177, at this time
I will read changes that -- and I would suggest that you read
with me or listen, starting on page four it says; "In addition --

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: Which bill?

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: 920-A.

"In addition to extending the Rent Stabilization Law from April
1, 1997 to April 1, 2,000 proposed Intro. Number 920-A also
includes amendments to certain provisions of the Administrative
Code enacted by Local Law Number 4 of 1994, which clarify the
intent of the Council, when it enacted Local Law Number 4." Key
sentence, people.

"Those provisions have been interpreted by the New York State
Division of Housing and Community Renewal ("DHCR") in a way that
runs counter to the Council's intent and the Council is therefore
compelled to enact these "clarifying" amendments. These
amendments do not in any way alter the regulatory structure by
Local Law Number 4.

"Local Law Number 4 provided for the deregulation of housing
accommodations with a "maximum rent" (which for this purpose is
intended to be the maximum collectible rent as it pertains to
housing accommodations that are rent controlled) or legally
regulated rent (as it pertains to housing accommodations that are
rent stabilized) of $2,000 or more per month "which is or becomes
vacant on or after April 1st, 1994" (heretofore referred to as
the "vacancy decontrol law").

"It has been brought to the attention of the Committee at a
hearing held on March 11, 1997, that DHCR has misconstrued Local
Law Number 4. An example of this is to be found in a DHCR opinion
letter dated October 13, 1995, "where an owner installs new
equipment in a vacant housing accommodations that had a monthly
maximum or legal regulated rent of less than $2,000 and where
such installation results in an increase in the monthly rental
amount to at least $2,000, the lawful monthly maximum or legal
regulated rent will be deemed as having been $2,000 or more and
the apartment will be deregulated, provided that the next tenant
in occupancy actually rents the housing accommodation for at
least $2,000 per month.

"It was the clear intent of the Council when it enacted Local Law
Number 4 that a housing accommodation which became vacant and had
a maximum rent or legal regulated rent below $2,000 or more per
month at the time it become vacant was not to be deregulated
based upon rent increases for installation of new equipment for
improvements to that housing accommodation that raised the
monthly rent to $2,000 or more where such equipment was installed
or such improvement was made during the period of vacancy. Such
increases were not to be included in the calculation of the rent
for the purpose of deregulating housing accommodation.

"Rather, the Council's intent in 1994, which is restated today,
is that a vacant housing accommodation becomes deregulated only
where the maximum rent or legal regulated rent was $2,000 or more
at the time the tenant vacated such housing accommodate. Nothing
in this bill is intended to effect the rights or remedies of
those subject to the provision of Local Law Number 4 of 1994.

"Amendments in proposed Intro. 920-A that reflect the Council's
clarification in its intent when it enacted local law Number 4 of
1994, found in Sections one and three of the bill. Bill Section 1
amends the applicable provision of the Rent Control Law while
bill Section 3 amends the applicable provision of the Rent
Stabilization Law.

"Additional Amendments to Intro. 920:

"In addition to restating the intent of the Council, proposed
Intro. Number 920-A makes certain amendments with respect to
notice to be given to the first tenant of a housing accommodation
that is deregulated pursuant to the "vacancy decontrol law".
Under the current law, the owner of a vacant housing
accommodation that is excluded from the Rent Stabilization Law is
not required to give a new tenant any notice of the legal
regulated rent that was in effect at the time such housing
accommodations became vacant.

"Bill Section 3 amends the current law to require the owner of
such housing accommodation shall give a certified written notice
of the first tenant of that housing accommodation after it became
exempt from the provision of the Rent Stabilization Law. The
certified notice, attached to which must be a certified copy of
the last registration or the document most recently filed with
DHCR, which sets forth the maximum rent for such housing
accommodation must be given by certified mail within 30 days
after the new tenancy commences and it must contain a statement
that the legal regulated rent may be verified by the tenant by
contacting DHCR or any successor agency, and the address and
telephone number of DHCR or any successor agency.

"Under current law, the owner of a housing accommodation that is
subject to the Rent Control Law and becomes subject to the Rent
Stabilization Law is required to give written notice by certified
mail to the next tenant of the initial legal regulated rent of
such housing accommodation and of such tenants rights to file an
application for an adjustment of such initial legal regulated
rent.

"Section 4 of the bill amends this notice provision to require
the owner include in such a notice the maximum rent of such
housing accommodation at the time such housing accommodation
became vacant.

"This legislation will take effect immediately."

That's the changes to Intro. 920-A.

Insofar as Resolution 2208, there are no changes.

Okay.

Council Member Pagan, you want to be recognized.

COUNCIL MEMBER PAGAN: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

In the first place, there must have been a tremendous error
committed in the process of waiting for this hearing, because I
have lent myself to a resolution -- Intro. 920 which is quite
different, substantively from 920-A. I am therefore removing my
name as a sponsor from 920-A, which I never authorized to be on -
-

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Duly noted.

COUNCIL MEMBER PAGAN: -- effective immediately, Mr. Chair.

I would also like to say that when legislators make laws, they
should be for all people. We should not be making laws for the
exaggerated excepts brought before us by one side of an issue.
Using these laws in the housing emergency, as a subterfuge for
subsidies for the rich is shameful.

Maybe what we should be considering here in the body, is a Truth
in Voting Bill. Truthfully submitting what the agendas of the
parties at this table are, when we move forward to endorse a
bill, change a bill or support a bill. Truth in knowing exactly
where these units at the $2,000 level truly are and who occupies
them. Truth in using facts and not fiction. Truth and not fear to
move forward legislative agenda.

I am requesting to have my name again lent to Resolution Number
2177, which calls for the termination of the housing emergency,
the only bill on the table that's been consistent. It has not
been changed nor effected by any interested party.

Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Seeing no other requests to speak

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: I would like to make a point.

The facts -- everybody is entitled to their opinion

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Council Member Michels.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: -- but they are not entitled to their own
facts.

The medium income for rent regulated tenants is $21,000. If that
be rich people, then weíre all extremely rich people here. That's
my comment.

The fact of the matter is; however we vote on this bill and close
up the loopholes that were opened up. That this -- the great bulk
of the people who are involved in rent regulation in the City are
poor people. They are the ones who need the protection. The are
being protected by this legislation, hopefully are being
protected by these laws. Hopefully we will close some of these
loopholes to give them even further protection under the law, as
imperfect as this law may be.

Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Council Member Ognibene.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: I would like to ask a question. If the
medium income the person that we're benefiting is $21,000, why
are we protecting a $24,000 a year rent? Would somebody like to
explain to me how a person earning $21,000 a year needs
protection from paying $24,000 year rent? I would like to know
about it.

I don't think we're protecting the poor here. We haven't done a
damn thing to help people who are poor pay their rents. What we
said is we are going to protect people so they are destabilized
when their rents are over $2,000 fairly. If you can pay over
$2,000 rent, I don't know that we ought be subsidizing those
apartments. There is nothing that's been said here today that
addresses the serious issues that effect housing in this City;
that makes it easier for the poor to acquire and maintain
apartments.

I'm saddened by what I see here, not necessarily because people
want to put forth an agenda, I just get sick and tired of people
telling me it's to protect the poor. I think there isn't a sane
person on earth that thinks that restricting decontrol for rents
over $2,000 saves anybody with anywhere near an income of
$21,000. I think we ought to put that on the record.

You want to talk about real redesign and reconstruction of rent
regulation, I'm for it. If we have to have a regulatory scheme,
I'll look at that too. The scheme that we have now just destroys
housing. This little drop in the bucket to appease a few people
isn't going to solve the problem.

I know when we read over here we had the sense of the Council,
it's the sense of the Council, I'm in this Council, it ain't my
sense that we ought to be doing this instead of talking about
really restructuring rents and making this City's housing market
work. What we're doing here is promoting and promulgating and
continuing the system that protects the rich at the expense of
the poor.

There is no reason why people who can afford to pay over $2,000 a
rent need any protection whatsoever. The people who are poor and
many who are in the outer boroughs who need to be protected and
helped with a rent scheme. Let's just put it where it stands
right over here. This protects people -- I should be voting for
it. I think it protects people who are located in a district of a
good friend of mine. That's the only district. I donít object to
any of it because I respect the people who live in his district.
But, the people who are supporting this bill, I guarantee you
couldn't find one apartment in your district that rents for more
than $2,000, or one person in your district who could afford to
pay that rent.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Council Member Marshall.

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: The devil is in the details. First of
all, rent stabilization does help the poor. It does help the
middle-class, the striving working-class people of our city. I'm
delighted we are, of course, just extending that because it needs
to be extended.

On the question of $2,000 a month rental, in midtown Manhattan in
the New York Times this past Sunday, I read an article about
three young people who are living together in small quarters
because that's the only way they can meet the rent, which was
something like $1,700 a month rent. With any kind of increase it
will move up to $2,000 a month.

In Queens, in my district, I have people, mainly immigrant
people, who are crowded up in apartments. If you look at what
they are paying in rent, it almost comes to $2,000 a month rent.
Even poor people are not immune from that.

What this bill does simply, I'm glad we did it. It now says that
there are rules and regulations. That's what I meant about the
devil is in the details. Landlords play games and tricks on
people. The incoming tenant doesn't necessarily know what the
tenant before them was paying, et cetera. That fails to benefit
the landlord. That's basically what this bill is doing. It's
clarifying issues.

DHCR was sort of sleeping on-the-job and not paying attention to
those details. The bill as it has been amended covers all points.
Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Council Member Eristoff.

COUNCIL MEMBER ERISTOFF: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'm not a Member of this Committee and I had no intention of
speaking until I heard some of my colleagues speak to these
issues. It would seem to me that they need a little bit of
education as to exactly what this bill does. Frankly, it moves in
the right direction, but it doesn't go for enough.

I think we should repeal the luxury decontrol provisions of Local
Law 4 of 1994. I think, frankly, the statements that we heard
here today, Mr. Chairman, were misplaced if not openly
outrageous. Yes, many of the people who will be impacted by
vacancy decontrol at $2,000 or above in rent live in my district.
But let me tell you something, Mr. Chairman, many of those people
are not rich.

Furthermore, as my colleague from Queens pointed out, there are
many people who are paying $2,000 or more who are doubled up in
apartments. Those people aren't rich. We ought to remember that
rent regulation is not the regulation of individual apartments
for or against the benefit of an individual. It's the regulation
of an entire marketplace for the purpose of making that
marketplace affordable for all renters, at every level. It's one
big marketplace. That means there are going to be people of very
different kinds of means levels in the rental market.

I've sat here and I think, frankly, there is a lot of hyperbole
and people are playing to the cheap seats. The idea that somehow
this bill is going to subsidize the rich at the expense of the
poor is just outlandish. It's outrageous to make that assertion.
The only people who are going to make more money on this bill are
the landlords, who have relatively expensive apartments for rent
in my district.

I would defy you, Mr. Chairman, or anyone on this Committee,
anyone in this room to locate a landlord in my district who has
an apartment renting for $1,500 or more who is losing money
because of rent stabilization. Its ludicrous to suggest that this
somehow is a subsidy for the rich at the expense of the poor.
That's an outrage.

If weíre going to be intellectually honest with ourselves, we
ought to discard that kind of hyperbole and just get off this.
This is really -it's gone way too far. The only people who
benefit from this bill, frankly, are the lobbyists in the back
row here. Those are the only people who are benefiting.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Council Member Pinkett, you want to be
recognized.

COUNCIL MEMBER PINKETT: Yes, I wanted to say that while I can
applaud the changes, my name is listed as one of the sponsors on
the amended bill and I had not given my name.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: You have to speak a little louder, please. I
can't hear you.

COUNCIL MEMBER PINKETT: Okay.

On the amended bill, while I applaud the changes I had not
indicated that I would want to be a sponsor on the bill. I'm
asking you at this time to delete my name please.

Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Duly noted.

okay.

Council Member Linares.

COUNCIL MEMBER LINARES: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

There is sort of a historic day because earlier on I agreed fully
with my colleague Stanley Michels, now I'm agreeing fully with
the statement made by colleague Eristoff, in terms of the
statements that were made before trying to present this situation
as the very wealthy living off the very poor. The fact of the
matter is that this was the argument that was presented by those
who pushed for this legislation in '94.

To try and give the impression that all this is only going to
hurt the wealthy or people that are able -- who are taking
advantage of this situation to -- that the regulation that
existed to protect the working poor in this City I think that
this is really outrageous that it be raised this way.

The fact of the matter is, with the current law as it exists we
have seen evidence of harassment of tenants, and I might say in
my area, the one that I represent, which is one of the most
concentrated areas with regulated apartments, we do have a lot of
apartments that are way over $1,000 a month, for which families
are barely being able to make it, 1,000, 1,200 1,300, there are
apartments in my area.

With the type of experience that we've had under the laws as it
exist now, Local Law 4, all a landlord needs to do is simply make
sure that that apartment is vacated and do some repairs, fix up
the way things are, the next thing you see, the next tenant will
have $2,000 apartment. There goes any type of regulation. That is
happening in my area and that is happening in other areas, as
well.

The fact of the matter is, that we're looking to protect a system
that looks at the entire population that needs to have affordable
housing.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Council Member Michels.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'm not going to pretend to anyone here that 920-A is a
resolution of all the problems here. It's not what I would have
asked to be passed. I much preferred 930. This is a step in the
right direction. It's an incremental step. It's needed. It's
solving some of the problems.

To my colleague, Mr. Ognibene, I was anxious to answer him when
he asked the question, Iím anxious to answer him now. Mr.
Ognibene, we're not talking about rents that are currently
$2,000. We're talking about rents that go up to $2,000 by
sometimes real and sometime phony claims of capital improvement
afterwards. We're talking about rents that reach $2,000 in the
future. With cost of living increases and things happening, it's
a real problem.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: What is your question?

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: What we're trying to do is protect a
group of housing that we need in the City for people who are not
earning a lot of money. The medium income is $21,000. There is no
subsidy for anybody. This is an effort to

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: What is your question?

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: -- keep the City viable

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: What is your question?

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: You can answer me when I'm finished.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: You said you had a question for me.
COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: I don't have a question. I'm answering
your question.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: If you have a question for me, give me
the question.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: I'm not asking you any questions. I
thought you had a question for me.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: You said you had a question.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: Mr. Ognibene stop the

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: You said you had a question for me.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: I don't have a question. I didn't say
that. I'm answering your question.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: You're drawing a question

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: I have no question. I'm answering your

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: You said you have a question for me.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: I'm answering the question. You told --

CHAIRPERSON SPICNER: Mr. Ognibene, please.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: This is not the time for the usual
tactics.

The fact of the matter is; that we're trying to close what turned
out to be a device to raise rents to $2,000, decontrol rents.
We're trying to protect housing all over the City, where people
are living together as my colleagues have reported, two families,
three families, where everybody is earning money and pooling it
and where there is still 50 percent of their income going to pay
rent.

It's extremely important that these people be protected. There is
housing to be protected. It doesn't result in decontrol.
Decontrol not only means that we're decontrolling the amount of
money that people pay, we're also saying to them, you no longer
have security in your lease. A landlord can decide yes or no
whether he wants to continue you as a tenant. That's a very
important factor here when you have decontrol.

It's important that these rents -- so that people have stability
in their lives. They are able to live in a house knowing they
will be able to continue to live in that house.

Further, it is also important that we do away with the harassment
that has taken place and may very well take place, which I
pointed out in my previous statement. We allow the rents to seek
their own level in a decent way and not provoke and give
incentive for harassment, as I said before.

The rent level argument, was given by Mr. Eristoff. He did it
very well. Most of all, the reason I'm supporting this what I
call defective legislation but necessary legislation is to send a
clear and convincing message to Albany that the people of this
City and this Council demand of them that we continue rent
control and rent stabilization. They need to stop playing any
more games with the lives of the people of our City.

Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: No other requests to speak. The Chair feels
that there are ample reasons for a yes vote. This 920-A has been
the topic of extensive discussion, analysis and debate. It is
clear to me that on the merit and for other reasons, at this time
it deserves a yes vote.

Roll call, please.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Spigner.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Aye.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Michels.

COUNCIL MEMBER MICHELS: For the reasons given, I vote aye.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Linares.

COUNCIL MEMBER LINARES: May I be excused to explain my vote?

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Certainly, Mr. Linares.

COUNCIL MEMBER LINARES: It's unfortunate that we could not get to
rescind Local Law 4, as it would have been clearly the path for
us to go as a Committee and as a Council. It would have been
consistent with the interest of the majority of people in this
City who are protected with rent regulations, which we seek to
extend by our action today.

But given the explanation that Council Member Stanley Michels has
provided, and given the circumstance that have been emerged since
this law has been in effect, harassment in particular of tenants,
I think this amendment would be a step in the right direction. I
think we still need to proceed and fight to rescind deregulation.
But I think this is one small step that will safeguard our
tenants, and, therefore, I vote aye.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Continue the roll call.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Marshall.

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: May I be excused to explain my vote?

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Ms. Marshall.

COUNCIL MEMBER MARSHALL: I would have, as I did vote for Intro.
930, I would have preferred to vote for the bill in its context,
I can feel comfortable with voting for 920-A as a step in the
right direction as my colleague Stanley Michels said.

I'm voting yes for this bill because Iím voting for all of the
young people, like my daughter who is a young professional and
has to spend far too much of her salary for rent. And, for all
the other people in our City who are struggling to come along. If
we're going to keep them in our City, we have to try to protect
them with rent. They do have to live someplace.

Shelter is a prime necessity, you can't get out of it. We must
try to maintain our housing stock and keep our people in our
city. I vote aye.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Continue the roll call.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Pagan.

COUNCIL MEMBER PAGAN: May I be excused to explain my vote?

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Certainly.

COUNCIL MEMBER PAGAN: For the record, I would like to state that
this is the first time in my six-year history in the Council that
I'll be not with my Committee Chairman and friend. I'm voting
against 920-A because it's not the bill that I signed on to or
agree or was part of discussions about.

In the very recent history of this debate, I'm still not
convinced this addresses the issues of commonality that a body
like this should be addressing. It still addresses a very
specific special interest that does not effect at all, as some of
my colleagues have said, the poor and working poor of this City.
It is nothing but a subterfuge for the rich, delivered by the
spokespeople for the poor. Explain that one to me.

The other issue I want to put on the table is I'm enlightened by
this debate and this process. For the first time, many of the
people that I've been against in debate on the floor when I'm
discussing incremental advances on other issues of interest to
the City, have been on the other side saying all or nothing.

Well, the first two bills were all or nothing and they agreed to
drop them to start supporting these two bills that are
incremental. Iím enlightened by this process. I support
Resolution Number 2177. On the record for the reasons stated, I
have to be against 920-A.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: Continue the roll call.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Perez.

COUNCIL MEMBER PEREZ: Aye.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: Ognibene.

COUNCIL MEMBER OGNIBENE: I really don't understand the rationale.
I wish we had a more prolonged debate. I think we are making a
decision on information that we don't know is true. We're making
a decision on a lot of hyperbole. I don't know that the issue
they are addressing effects many people or many people that this
Council should be concerned with.

I vote no. No on both. I would just like to add on the second
issue, I don't think this Council or HPD sufficiently established
that there was a housing emergency. That they used statistics
obtained from the public housing which is not subject to rent
stabilization, it's overcrowded and skews the curve. They use it
for Mitchell Lama which is means tested and has nothing to do
with rent stabilization. It should not have be used.

Most importantly, the City uses in rem housing which was
previously stabilized housing, which was decontrolled by the City
of New York because the rents were not sufficiently high enough
to operate the building. I think it's ludicrous that these
tenancies are included in any statistical analysis for the
purpose of determining an emergency.

Accordingly, I vote no on that one also.

COUNCIL CLERK CHERRY: 920-A is adopted by a vote of five in the
affirmative, two in the negative, no abstentions.

2177 is adopted by a vote of six in the affirmative, one in the
negative and no abstentions.

Please sign the reports.

CHAIRPERSON SPIGNER: There being no business -- no other business
at this time, before this Committee, this meeting is adjourned.

(Hearing concluded at 3:50 p.m.)

              *********************************

CERTIFICATION

STATE OF NEW YORK )
COUNTY OF NEW YORK )

I, Mary R. Rameden, a Shorthand Reporter and Notary Public, do
hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate
transcript of the within proceeding.

I further certify that I am not related to any of the parties to
this action by blood or marriage, and that I am in no way
interested in the outcome of this matter.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 14th day of
March, 1997.

Mary Rameden



C E R T I F I C A T I O N

I, Mary R. Ramsden, a Shorthand Reporter and Notary Public, do
here by certify the aforesaid to be a true and accurate copy of
the original of my stenographic notes.

Mary Ramsden