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NYC Rent Regulated Tenants: come to the City Council meeting today!

Posted by Anna on February 25, 2000 at 09:50:25:

Article from: NYtenants Online 2/25/00


Friday, February 25th the City Council Housing Committee will hold a Public
Hearing on the rent laws. It is the only opportunity for the public to
appear before the City Council and make the case for the rent laws. Tenants
are encouraged to attend and testify.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25 10 a.m. until...?
City Hall, 2nd floor

The real action starts after the public hearings have ended. In years past,
Housing and Buildings Committee Chair Archie Spigner (a rabid landlord
loyalist and about as exciting as a's earnings) deferred to City
Council Speaker Peter Vallone who then arm-twisted and threatened other
council members with loss of committee positions, stipends and other goodies.

For example, in 1997 -- before the Albany sellout -- Councilmember Stanley
Michels was the tenant Poster Boy, with a renewal law that would have
rolled back the disastrous Vallone high-income/high-rent deregulation of
1994. Many Councilmembers had signed on to the Michels bill. But with a bit
of Vallone pressure, Michels ran to the hills (not to be seen until it blew
over). A few days after the public committee hearings, Vallone changed the
expected renewal law into something more devious. A renewal, yes -- but one
that was weak and later allowed Democratic State Assembly Speaker Shel
Silver to gut rent regulation in all but name only.

While Michels was hiding, many other Councilmembers that had ostensibly
supported his renewal bill also scattered to the wind. About the only one
that stayed was then Councilmember Sal Albanese. Surprising no one, Tenants
& Neighbors' Michael McKee (who the following year endorsed Vallone for
Governor) sat on the sidelines doing nothing while a number of tenant
activists (the ones not controlled by the Democratic machine) tried
unsuccessfully to get the original bill on the floor for consideration. It
never made it because a) council support had completely vanished after
Vallone did his thing, and b) the arcane Council rules required legislation
to be introduced well before consideration unless accompanied by a
statement of necessity (and that's determined by you know who -- Vallone).
The oft-muttered phrase was "it was the best we could do..."

No wonder nothing ever gets done. While everyone and his brother puts forth
"repeal this" and "fix that" bills, the only game in town is still Poker.

Will Vallone pull a fast one between tomorrow's hearings and the vote
sometime in March when the laws must be renewed? It's hard to say with his
running for Mayor (see two articles below), but it would surprise no one.

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