Tenants Press Pols To Keep Rent Control

Daily News Writers

Hundreds of angry tenant activists met with legislative leaders yesterday to rally support for rent control on the eve of a critical vote.

The state Senate is scheduled to vote today on continuing laws for rent control and stabilization, which affect 2.7 million tenants in New York City and Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland counties.

State Senate Minority Leader Martin Connor (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan), who proposed the bill, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) met with the tenants in Manhattan yesterday.

Connor's bill would extend current rent laws for the next four years. Without action by the Legislature, rent protections expire June 15.

With Gov. Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) leading the charge, Republicans, who hold a 35-to-26 majority in the Senate, have been seeking to deregulate rent laws.

But their efforts depend on the support of 13 Republican members from New York City and its surrounding suburbs.

Mayor Giuliani, a supporter of rent control, noted that the Legislature traditionally goes down to the wire on renewing the rent regulations.

"So everybody has to be willing to continue to keep the pressure on, not just today and tomorrow, but next week and the week after and the week after that," he said. "This decision is made ultimately by the majority leader and the speaker and the governor."

At the Manhattan meeting, Connor denounced the proposed rent changes as a "gun to the tenants' heads."

During the day-long event, tenant leaders cited state Board of Elections campaign filing reports that document contributions from three landlord political action committees.

"Landlords have given the vast majority of their contributions to Republicans. They made an investment in Bruno and now want to see a return at the expense of tenants," said Martin Brennan, a tenant campaign coordinator.

Four busloads of New York City tenants intend to be on hand in Albany today to try to influence the proceedings, said Michael McKee of the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition.

"We are going to let the senators know they can vote for Bruno or vote for their constituencies," McKee said.

Original Story Date: 040797
Original Story Section: City Central