Tenants' Group Asks Mayor Not to Address Rally

The New York Times, May 17, 1997

NEW YORK -- Trying to avoid the appearance of politics, a tenants' group has asked Mayor Rudolph Giuliani not to speak to a large rent control rally in Albany next week.

The mayor announced last month that he planned to travel to Albany on Tuesday to speak in favor of continued rent protections on Tenant Lobby Day at the invitation of the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition, the sponsor of the rally.

But after rent control became an issue in the mayoral race, the coalition decided that the mayor's appearance could be interpreted as a political endorsement, said Billy Easton, the coalition's executive director. The group wrote a letter thanking Giuliani for his support but saying it would be better if no political candidates spoke at the rally.

None of the other mayoral candidates had been invited to speak, Easton said, and none had indicated any plans to attend.

"If we have Giuliani speak, all we need is the other candidates standing out there on the sidewalk railing about how they're not given a chance to speak," Easton said. "That would distract from the point of the day."

Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro wrote back to Easton on Thursday, wishing the group well and saying the mayor respected the group's wishes not to politicize the event. Mastro said the mayor intended to return to Albany soon to lobby state leaders to renew rent control laws.

Copyright 1997 The New York Times