Tenant Groups Lash Gov & Sen. Al

By MICHAEL FINNEGAN
Daily News Staff Writer

Tenant groups will unleash a new attack on Gov. Pataki and Sen. Alfonse D'Amato today with a television ad campaign accusing them of trying to end rent protection for 2.7 million tenants.

The new commercial targets the Republicans allies, who face reelection next year, for Pataki's proposal to abolish limits on rent hikes as tenants vacate their apartments.

"The Pataki-D'Amato plan for vacancy decontrol means an end to rent protection, and it's a disaster for 2.7 million New York tenants," a narrator warns in the 30-second spot.

The ad also notes that state Republicans imposed vacancy decontrol once before, in the 1970s. "The result? Increased evictions, tenant harassment and rents that shot up more than 50%. Now the Pataki-D'Amato team wants to use vacancy decontrol to take away rent protection again. Don't let them," the announcer warns.

The commercial was funded by New Yorkers to Save Rent Protections, a coalition of the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition and the Queens League of United Tenants. The groups are spending about $100,000 to air the ad on Channels 2, 5 and 11 and cable channel New York 1, said Martin Brennan, campaign coordinator of the coalition.

Pataki said the ad featured "scare tactics as opposed to honest information." A D'Amato aide noted that the ad was produced by a consultant for Rep. Charles Schumer, a Brooklyn Democrat who plans to challenge D'Amato in 1998.

"What they conveniently forgot to say is that the governor's plan protects 99% of New York City," said D'Amato spokeswoman Lisette McSoud, echoing landlord groups that accused the tenants of distortion.

D'Amato has no formal role in the dispute over the state rent laws that are threatened with elimination June 15. But as the GOP kingmaker who helped put Pataki and State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) in office, he can wield enormous influence on the battle.

Meanwhile, a gay rights group lashed out at Bruno yesterday for saying the state should no longer allow domestic partners to keep rent-regulated apartments of their loved ones when they die.

"It's more of the same of his anti-gay, homophobic, bigoted views of the world, which are totally out of sync with where New Yorkers are today," said Dick Dadey of Empire State Pride Agenda.

Spokesman John McArdle said Bruno's position "has nothing to do with anybody's sexual preferences." His position is that tenants should not be able to inherit apartments they don't own, McArdle said.

With Kimberly Schaye

Copyright 1997 THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS