Bruno Set to Unveil Decontrol Plans

Newsday, June 4, 1997
By Ellen Yan and Michael Slackman

Albany - The State Legislature's top proponent of ending rent regulations plans today to unveil specifics of his plan for overhauling the system governing what landlords can charge.

In the months since he called for ending such laws, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) has backed off stipulating a specific date but remains adamant that a deal must at least contain vacancy decontrol, which would allow rents to go to market rates when tenants move out or die.

Bruno's comments came yesterday after a 30-minute meeting with Gov. George Pataki and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). All three said the rent impasse still stands, with a major rent stabilization law due to expire at midnight June 15.

"We've talked about rent and we're going to continue to talk about rent," Bruno said.

"Basically, there has been no movement" said Silver, adamant that no plan include decontrol.

The leaders' meeting came as the governor's effort to generate public support for his own rent plan bogged down. Pataki was forced yesterday to cancel a one-hour forum to be aired last night on cable television, which he planned to moderate. He pitched the idea last week to New York One News, which agreed, as long as the guest list was balanced.

But some guests agreed to participate only if other guests also appeared. The show broke down when Billy Easton of the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition declined, said Steve Paulus, vice president of news.

While Pataki on Monday named Easton among the expected guests, Easton said he had not made a definite decision but was turned off by the show's format and Pataki's role.

"In the end," Easton said, "they didn't want to have a balanced format."

In a news release, Pataki cast pro-regulation forces as opponents who prefer to use scare tactics.

"The so-called advocates who oppose my plan to protect all tenants but the wealthiest few are afraid of an open debate because they know that their ideas are bankrupt," the governor charged.