New York Mayor Will Lobby Albany on Preserving Rent Controls

New York Times, April 4, 1997

NEW YORK -- Intensifying his support for preserving rent regulations in New York City, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will make several lobbying trips to Albany in the next few weeks and has agreed to be the keynote speaker at Tenant Lobby Day on May 20, his aides said on Thursday.

With Senate Republicans in Albany proposing to eliminate rent ceilings in the city, the mayor has been criticized by some political opponents for not doing enough to lobby his fellow party members on the issue. Although he brought up the matter last month during a meeting in Albany with the Senate Republican Caucus, most of his comments in favor of rent controls have been made offhandedly in the city.

On Monday, after signing a bill declaring that the state laws are still necessary, the mayor was asked by several tenant advocates if he would join them in Albany on May 20. The mayor said he would consider the request, and on Thursday his aides confirmed that he would make the trip.

He also plans to join City Council Speaker Peter Vallone for another lobbying trip to the capital within the next 10 days, according to his communications director, Cristyne Lategano, who said a third trip is also under consideration. On Thursday, the mayor met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at City Hall to discuss strategy, she said.

Tenant leaders were delighted by Giuliani's new aggressiveness on the issue, expressing hope that he would have a powerful effect on city Republicans torn between the arguments of the city and those of Joseph Bruno, who wants to let most controls expire on June 15.

"His being there on Lobby Day will have a great deal of significance," said Michael McKee, the rent law campaign manager for the New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition, "particularly because it's his party that has said it wants to trash these laws."

Although Giuliani has several allies in the Senate, his relationship with the state Republican Party has never been close. But whether or not he changes any minds in Albany, his active public advocacy of rent regulations will make it harder for his opponents to link him through the party to Bruno in the mayoral election campaign.

Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company