Pols Hit for Lack Of Rent Reg Talks

Daily News Albany Bureau, June 6, 1997

Tenants and landlords criticized Gov. Pataki and legislative leaders yesterday for not holding daily negotiations to break the deadlock on the looming expiration of state rent laws.

The attacks erupted as Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) spent the day at opposite ends of the state without meeting.

Even aides to the three leaders failed to meet yesterday on the rent laws — which are set to expire in nine days.

"Since the meetings have been so intensive, these poor legislators need some respite from their labors," complained a sarcastic Roberta Bernstein, president of the Small Property Owners of New York.

Paul Dale, a Manhattan stage-scenery artist, said he was "very upset" that the leaders weren't trying harder to reach agreement.

"They should be trying to get together," said Dale, who fears loss of rent protections on his W. 93d St. apartment if the laws expire on June 15. "We're going into a major crisis here."

Pataki spent the day at groundbreaking ceremonies in western New York and a meeting with the leader of the Seneca Indians. Silver attended a Manhattan hearing on a proposed law to quiet rowdy bars. And Bruno worked in his district office in the Albany area.

Pataki and Bruno, upstate Republican allies, blamed Silver for the lack of progress.

"The fact is that they are talking and talking regularly, but the problem is that you have a speaker who is unwilling to move in any way, shape or form," said Pataki spokeswoman Zenia Mucha.

Silver accused Pataki and Bruno of prolonging the stalemate by refusing to drop their demand for lifting rent protections as tenants move out of their apartments or die.

"When vacancy decontrol comes off the table, I'm prepared to talk," said Silver, who has repeatedly vowed to block such a provision.