Date: Sat, 1 Mar 1997 02:07:10 -0500


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The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
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  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
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Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Tue, 04 Mar 1997 21:28:11 -0500
Subject: NYtenants special digest

As we almost expected, we've encountered some bugs with Majordomo,
specifically with generating digests (do we have any Majordomo gurus on the
list?). So until it's a bit more stable (and since traffic isn't too high),
we'll send out messages via NYTENANTS-ANNOUNCE.

------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 02:27:22 -0500
Subject: postcards
From: bobpig@juno.com (James I Bauer)

Dear New York Renters,

I hop that you have all mailed your red postcards to elected our elected
officials, Giuliani, Pataki, D'Amato, and your councilperson.

For 76 cents, you can let these people know that you will not stand for
the lapse of rent regulations or the gutting of public housing.

If you have not mailed the cards, please do. If you need them, call me at
212-777-1366 or e-mail me at bobpib@juno.com and I will try to get some
to you.

Sincerely,

James Bauer

------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 08:04:53 -0500
From: ARTISTpres@aol.com
Subject: artist demo\paint-in N.Y.C. Hall 3/6/97

A.R.T.I.S.T. Demonstration  and Paint-In
THIS Thursday, March 6th 1997, 10:45 A.M.
in front of N.Y. City Hall

["An exhibition of paintings is not as communicative as speech,
literature or live entertainment, and the artists' constitutional
interest is thus minimal".
Quoted from pg. 22 of N.Y.C.'s appeal brief to Supreme Court.]

ARTISTS: Protest the Giuliani Administration's street artist arrest
policy and U.S. Supreme Court appeal which seeks to eliminate
First Amendment protection for all visual art!

Demo/Rain or shine/ Please come 10 minutes early, bring your
art, something to paint on and a protest sign.
Let's show the Mayor that art is expression!
(take N or R train to City Hall Station)

For detailed information on the street artist Federal lawsuit visit
the A.R.T.I.S.T. web page at:

   http://www.openair.org/alerts/artist/nyc.html [It includes
   contact #'s; a bibliography of newspaper articles; the case's
   rulings; previous press releases; descriptions of arrests, etc.]

or contact:

Robert Lederman, president of Artist's Response To Illegal State
Tactics artistpres@aol.com (718) 369-2111 or (212) 334-4327
Press kits, photos of arrests etc. available on request.

N.Y.C. Corporation Counsel (representing N.Y.C. in the appeal)
(212) 788-0303 Leonard Koerner, Elizabeth Friedman, Robin
Binder.

------------------------------------
[end]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Date: Wed, 05 Mar 1997 12:12:27 -0500
Subject: NYtenants digest 3/5/97 12:00 noon

SOME NOTES:
If you feel you are on this list improperly, please UNSUBSCRIBE by sending a
message to  and in the body of the message put
"unsubscribe nytenants your-email". Alternatively you may send a private
message to . It does no good to send (as one joker did) a
flaming message from "hoover@fbi.org" and you will continue to be on the
list unless we know what email address to remove. The names on the list were
developed over the last three years from those who signed on; it does not go
to unsolicited names.

CONFUSED?
Although this message is being sent through NYTENANTS-ANNOUNCE, the general
mailing list is a two-way discussion forum, which means that each and every
one receiving these emails may respond, put in their two-cents or raise
their own topics. We ask that some of you that have experience with internet
lists send us material (to the list at nytenants@list.tenant.net) about your
own concerns or what's happening in your building so others can see how such
a list works. Once we get the bugs out of the NYTENANTS-DIGEST, we'll
re-open that list.

These lists are NOT just for New York City. If you live upstate or on Long
Island, your issues may be raised here as well. Also, this is NOT just for
Rent Control or Rent Stabilization issues (even if they get most of the
play). You may certainly talk about other tenant issues. As we're not expert
in every area of concern, we may not respond on every issue, but we're
hoping others will jump in and develop interesting discussions. It does take
time for lists such a this to develop activity, so it's up to you.

RED CARDS
Some of you were confused and wrote to us. This message did not come from us
and you should respond directly to the person who submitted the message. We
do not know what organization the person was from or why his red cards would
cost 76 cents where a letter will cost 32 cents. Perhaps the writer can
illuminate us.

When you write legislators, realize they "weight" the responses received
from constituents. Mass-printed postcards get the lowest rating. A little
higher are form letters and even higher are individually-written letters. We
heard that former Governor Cuomo's staff equated 200 postcards with one
individually-written letter. The absolute best way is to either call them on
the phone and damand to speak with the office-holder (good luck) or the
chief aide and bend their ear for 20 minutes. In many cases they're only
interested in one thing: if you're going to vote for them next time and keep
them in office. (OK, some actually do care about issues). And if you can, go
to their office personally. Sit down with them and try to get a contingent
of tenants from your building. It's better if this is done on your own,
individually organized as it has a greater effect than if you go on an
organized "lobby day" where all you can get is thin rhetoric.

POSTS FROM TENANTNET'S WEB BULLETIN BOARD:

]From Dottie:

In an article in NYTimes,March 5, "the poll by Quinnipiac College's Polling
Institute in Hamden, Conn.,shows that 54 percent of New York registered
voters want to keep the state's rent laws intact...Support...ran deep not
just in New York City...but also in the suburbs and upstate. In the city,
62% said they supported retaining the laws...in the suburbs, 54 % supported
the laws...Maurice Carroll, the director of the polling institute, said the
poll suggested that...Bruno might have trouble maintaining support even
among his fellow Republicans for his proposal to phase out most rent
portections this year...Officials with tenants groups among their supporters
seized upon the poll results to argue that Mr.Bruno's position was becoming
increasingly untenable." Here's ammmunition we can use as we write to our
elected officials.

Posted by TenantNet:

Thanks for the info. I haven't seen it yet (and we have someone trying
to get the raw data), but a phone message indicated the poll also showed
support for continuing decontrol for $2,000 apartments and $100,000
income [the real threat this year despite all the hysteria and media
malarkey]. This is natural given the landlord's sophisticated PR campaign.
Quinnipiac is respected and if the poll says what I've heard, I'm not
so sure if it helps. Makes you wonder why those tenant groups who claim
to be "leading the way" are actually "dropping the ball" by not doing
similar PR. Makes one wonder.

Posted by debralynn:

I've come to believe that Bruno doesn't care what the polls show. However,
now that this poll shows people supporting a reduction in income level, from
250,00 to 100,000, this still further weakens tenants' ability to maintain
their apartments if they reach this income level. They will have to fill out
convoluted personal income checks every year. The average family earning this
income level still would not be able to afford the market rental that the
landlord would charge for larger family apartments. In light of total
deregulation in New York City, this is a compromise that the politicians
would want to jump on the bandwagon and say that they have saved
regulations. Comments, please!

------------------------------
[end]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
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  email:
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Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997 03:57:50 -0500
Subject: VALLONE PUSHES DECONTROL; FOLLOWS LANDLORD MARCHING ORDERS


-        VALLONE PUSHES DECONTROL;
-     FOLLOWS LANDLORD MARCHING ORDERS
-
In a political year where the hottest topic is
not which candidate is leading for Mayor, but
rather, will New York City residents have a
place to live next year, gears of debate are
shifting from the state legislature to New
York City Council where city residents are
coming to realize that Joe Bruno is not the
only bad guy in town.

In a meeting held Wednesday between tenant
leaders and New York City Council Speaker Peter
Vallone's senior aides, it was made clear that
Vallone would push for continued decontrol and
erosion of tenants' rights.

According to one tenant leader who attended the
meeting, Vallone's aides "had their marching
orders" and did not budge from the Speaker's
previously announced support of vacancy
decontrol. Vallone did not attend the meeting.

At issue is Vallone's reported refusal to allow
the introduction of a bill by City Council members
Stanley Michaels and Virginia Fields that would
extend the rent laws when they expire in the city
on March 30 and also do away with the so-called
"high rent" provisions of the current law which
are only supposed to decontrol units renting over
$2,000 on a vacancy.

But tenant leaders report tremendous abuse with these
provisions in that many landlords just claim to
have done improvements in order to increase the rent
over $2,000 and the units (in practice) automatically
become decontrolled. It is the policy of the NYS
Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to
accept such landlord claims at face value and not
scrutinize whether or not these improvements were
ever made, if they were paid for or even if the
claimed improvements are allowable. DHCR simply
denies jurisdiction based on landlord statements.
TenantNet has seen, and other tenant leaders report
DHCR counselors routinely tell complaining tenants
if the owner says the rent is over $2,000, it's no
longer in [DHCR's] jurisdiction and there's nothing
DHCR can do." Moreover DHCR has exacerbated the
problem by "deeming" rents over $2,000 during a
prior vacancy before the rents ever actually
reach that mark.

It's difficult to estimate how many units have
been affected by this triple-whammy-collusion of
the Democratic leadership and landlords as DHCR
is not keeping any records. Tenants report
that many units are "just falling off DHCR
registration rolls in droves." Where High Rent
Decontrol is supposed to only affect units during
vacancies and only if the unit's rent had already
hit the $2,000 mark, TenantNet has seen cases
where landlords "decontrol" occupied units on
a variety of pretexts.

Upon this background Vallone's aides attempted to
place the burden on tenants to show the extent of the
problem, but Penny LaForest of Queens turned it
back around by asking what evidence did Vallone
and his landlord supporters have to justify the
permanent extension of the temporary decontrol
provisions in 1994. According to attendees of the
meeting, Vallone's aides had no answer to that and
abruptly ended the meeting.

In 1994 Speaker Vallone (D. Queens) of Astoria
pushed through a permanent extension of the
temporary decontrol provisions first introduced
by the state legislature in 1993. At the time,
Vallone's Chief of Staff Joseph Strasburg had
just taken over the landlord trade group Rent
Stabilization Association (RSA) that has lobbied
intensely for the complete end of all tenant
protections in New York. The RSA reportedly
has funneled $200,000 to Senate Republican
Majority Leader Joe Bruno and an estimated
additional $600,000 to other Republicans to
shut-down the rent regulatory system that
affects over two million residents of New York City.
It's widely believed that Strasburg used his
proximity to Vallone to lobby heavily for the
1994 vacancy decontrol provisions.

A week ago Vallone's district office was picketed
by his constituents and Vallone was reported to
have wondered what "all the nonsense is about."
At that time he would not meet with tenants,
but under increasing criticism for his stand
advancing continued decontrol, allowed his
aides to meet with tenants yesterday. Tenants
report there just might be enough votes in
the City Council to repeal vacancy decontrol if
the Michaels/Fields bill were allowed to be
introduced, and apparently that is why Vallone
and Strasburg are blocking a fair hearing.

Tenants who have called Vallone's office report
they are being told that the Speaker is supporting
tenant protections, but are apparently not being
told that Vallone continues to oppose the
Michaels/Fields bill, that he continues to block
its introduction and his bill allows for the
continuation of vacancy decontrol.

3/6/97             #   #   #
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Fri, 07 Mar 1997 01:26:28 -0500
Subject: NYTENANTS 3/6/97


NYTENANTS   3/6/97
-
In this issue:
1. Forum to Save the Rent Laws on March 13
2. Landlord problem - adjacent retail property
3. Tenancy Rights of Undocumented Immigrants
4. Vallone not the only landlord lackey
5. Comments on the Quinnipac Poll

------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: We're still having problems with automatic generation of digests,
so until we get time to fix things, we're continuing to hand-tool the list.
------------------------------------------------------------------
The transcript to ABC's John Stossel's "Prime Time" report on Rent
Control will be sent in a separate message.
------------------------------------------------------------------
More on Peter Vallone very soon. Right now forget ALbany; City Hall is
the battlefield.
------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Forum to Save the Rent Laws on March 13
Posted by Dottie on March 06, 1997 at 11:36:28:

Come to the Forum to Save the Rent Laws on Thursday, March 13th at 7:30 p.m.
at Hunter College Assembly Hall, 69th Street entrance between Park and
Lexington Avenue. Co-sponsors and speakers include the East Side Tenants
Coalition, City
and Suburban Housing Tenants Association, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney,
State Senator Roy Goodman, Assemblyman Pete Grannis, Councilman Andrew
Eristoff, Concilman Gifford Miller and others. Come and listen and speak out
on the issues. For flyers to give out in your building and for more
information call 212-249-0582, Tell your neighbors and friends! I was at a
similar meeting on the west side a few weeks ago and about 700 people showed
up -- standing room only! Let's fill the hall!

------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 05 Mar 1997 16:14:55 -0800
From: Les Wilson [nessman@servtech.com]
Subject: Landlord problem - adjacent retail property

Some questions:
We are renting a townhome adjacent to a retail property.  Both
properties are owned by the same company, but with different d/b/a's.
The retail property contains several stores and a billiards hall that
stays open until 3:00 am.  The parking lot is a popular hangout for the
people who patronize the pool hall.  As a result, the complaints we have
are numerous:  loud music, littering onto the residential property, beer
bottles and other projectiles thrown at our building, broken glass
everywhere from the broken bottles, drug use, etc.
While the local police have been called dozens of times, there isn't
much they can do since they cannot babysit the lot all night.

I've spoken with the owner of the billiards hall, and his responsibility
pretty much lies within the space he rents.  The problem is who is
really responsible for the activities within the parking lot of the
retail property?  The landlord or the tenants that utilize these parking
space during their normal business hours.

The landlord is well aware of these problems, and has yet to act on our
complaints.  All they have done so far was offer us another townhome in
a different part of the county to resolve the problem.  No steps have
been taken to reduce the incidents that occur there on a nightly basis.
No signs (no this and no that), no security, nothing.

Since the landlord has been notified (in writing and verbally) of the
problem with the parking lot, are they liable in the event that I am
injured by say a beer bottle thrown from the parking lot by a kid who is
hanging out there, regardless of his reason for being there?  Is the
billiards hall owner liable for any actions from his patrons in the
parking lot?  As there are many foreseeable problems that may occur,
does this increase the liablity to the landlord for his failure to take
action?

If my unit is damage, would this be a cause of the landlord's
negligence?

There are no signs, warnings, or any measures taken in the parking lot
to ensure some form of compliance by anyone who happens to be there.
Are we entitled to any damages for the landlord's failure to act?
We live in Greece, NY for those familiar with applicable ordinances and
laws. Please reply via e-mail:  nessman@servtech.com
Thanks for your time.

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: CDillDO@aol.com
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 1997 08:25:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: undocumented immigrants

Dear Madam/Sir:

Recently, a group of undocumented immigrants were burned out of the
substandard house they wer residening in at Riverhead, NY (Long Island). In
fact, one of the occupants died in the fire. This is not an uncommon
situation in this area. Numerous migrant workers (legal and undocumented)
reside in these types of living conditions. What recourse do they have,
especially those who are undocumented?

Sincerely,
C. Dillard

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Larry Racies [larry@biancx.com]
Subject: Vallone not the only landlord lackey
Date: 	Thu, 6 Mar 1997 08:47:39 -0500

In the current rush towards rent stabilization decontrol let us not forget
the roles of City Council members Tom Ognibene and Archie Spigner, who
were so anxious to do the bidding of their landlord svengalis that they
introduced the obnoxious rollback amendments two years ago.

Larry Racies

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Widmann [ROBWID@worldnet.att.net]
Subject: Comments on the Quinnipac Poll
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 1997 19:23:51 +0000

]I've come to believe that Bruno doesn't care what the polls show. However,
]now that this poll shows people supporting a reduction in income level, from
]250,00 to 100,000, this still further weakens tenants' ability to maintain
]their apartments if they reach this income level. They will have to fill out
]convoluted personal income checks every year. The average family earning this
]income level still would not be able to afford the market rental that the
]landlord would charge for larger family apartments. In light of total
]deregulation in New York City, this is a compromise that the politicians
]would want to jump on the bandwagon and say that they have saved
]regulations. Comments, please!

The rent laws were created to protect all tenants against unreasonable rents
and rent practices no matter what the income of the renter.

John Stossel lied.  The rent laws in NYC were not enacted to protect only
the poor, but all renters.   This is quite obvious from even a cursory
reading of the first few paragraphs of all enabling legislation.

Somehow the tenant side must drive home to the media that the continuing
existence of rent laws is not a continuing burden on the landlords at all.
The vast majority of buildings under rent law were purchased at a discount
price to factor in and otherwise discount the continuing existence of the
rent laws.  To remove rent laws now would represent a huge windfall profit
to the vast majority of landlords and be an unbearable burden to the vast
majority of tenants.

Robert Widmann ROBWID@WORLDNET.ATT.COM

------------------------------------------------------------------
[end 3/6/97]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
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  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 08:20:15 -0500
Subject: NYTENANTS   3/8/97

NYTENANTS   3/8/97
-
In this issue:
1. Secton 8 non-renewal cases?
2. Access to Meters?
3. Social ramifications and neighborhood disruptions
4. Artists Dub N.Y.C. Mayor, "Enemy of Art"
5. utilities
6. building maintenance

------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTE TO LIST MEMBERS: in addition to mail sent to the list, some of
the items we'll post may come from our web-based message forum or
email sent directly to TenantNet. You are encouraged to send your
response(s) to the list (at nytenant@list.tenant.net) for follow-up
posting and you may 'cc the original poster if you wish. Please quote
the message to which you are responding judiciously. TenantNet
will not necessarily respond to every posting and we encourage
readers (especially those with knowledge) to join in.

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bernadette Probus [mjr@inetworld.net]
Subject: Secton 8 non-renewal cases?

Has anyone in California tried Section 8 non-renewal without a 30-day notice,
for cause, eviction case and won?  Or anywhere in addition to NY, Agard v.
Cajigas?  I'm looking for citable precedent, new cases since implementation
of 1996 regs for San Diego Legal Aid Society defense files.

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Ann Dellarocco [anndell@rdz.stjohns.edu]
Subject: ACCESS TO METERS
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 1997 12:24:56 -0500 (EST)

I moved into my apt. over 4 years ago.  I am a woman who became disabled
right after and could not return to work.  My LL immediately became
obnxious to me.  He refused a bin, did not give heat, DAY OR NIGHT, for
the first two years (I became crippled with ARTHRITIS), and I complained.

Last summer I was cleaning my windows and found wires connected to my
windows from someone else.  (My electric bills are sky high).  I cut them,
and told the LL.  He would never give me access to a storage bin, the
basement to read meters, but he gave everyone else a key.  He insists that
I MUST CALL HIM FIRST if i MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN INSPECTOR.
Naturally, he comes the night before and fiddles in the basement.

After I cut the wires and called the PSC and got some help, I now have a
GAS BILL in the amount of $36.00, UP FROM $19 or $21.  (I am a woman alone
who has turned to sandwiches to cut down expense, make one pot of coffee
every other day, and hardly use the gas.

HOW CAN I GAIN ACCESS TO THE METERS, either to read them, or have them
inspected, WITHOUT the LL being present?
===================================================
Ann Dellarocco Email:  anndell@rdz.stjohns.edu
READ:  JARRETT'S JOURNAL (Newbytes,Book Reviews,Features)
       (re Disabled/Health/Medicine/Nutrition, etc.)
SUBSCRIBE:  Listserv@MAELSTROM.stjohns.edu Subscribe  J-JRNL  (your name)
=====================================================

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Marianne Luhrs [ml3694@cnsunix.albany.edu]
Subject: social ramifications and neighborhood disruptions

I am a graduate student at SUNY Albany, pursuing a Masters Degree in Urban
and Regional Planning. I am from NYC and am working on a paper detailing
the possible social ramifications and neighborhood disruptions that would
result from the deregulation of rent control/rent stabilized buildings
concentrated within one highly-likely to gentrify area of New York City.
I would greatly appreciate further info on block by block records of rent
control, as you have the building information available. Would this at
all be possible to obtain from yourselves? Would you know what agency or
organization would have accurate info of that nature and be willing to
relinquish it? I would greatly appreciate a reply. My mailing address
is 131 Winthrop Ave, Albany NY 12203 Thank you very much.

TENANTNET NOTE: You can get that kind of info from the Rent Guidelines
Board at http://www.nycrgb.com. As far as we know, there has not been
a recent comprehensive study as to the secondary effects as you describe
them (we would actually say primary) of the loss of rent regulation,
although we are looking into something along those lines. You can thank
the traditional media and real estate for framing the public debate
along the lines of "why rent control for the wealthy?" and also the
more idealogical tenant advocates who argue the reverse "affordable
housing for the poor and needy"; the broader populace affected by
tent regulations and the broader public policy benefits are lost
in the political nonsense.

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: ARTISTpres@aol.com
Subject: Artists Dub N.Y.C. Mayor, "Enemy of Art" outside N.Y. City Hall
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 17:00:21 -0500 (EST)

Yesterday members of A.R.T.I.S.T. braved 60 m.p.h. winds outside City Hall
to protest Mayor Giuliani asking the U.S. Supreme Court to deny First
Amendment protection to visual art. The Mayor's appeal brief, filed
on 2/24/97 claims, "An exhibition of paintings is not as communicative
as speech, literature or live entertainment, and the artists' constitutional
interest is thus minimal."

Artists displayed provocative giant-sized portraits of the Mayor and
carried placards saying, "Please buy my art before Mayor Giuliani has it
destroyed". A number of the paintings depicted the Mayor's recent appearance
on Broadway in drag. One artist carried a sign that said, "While His wife
stars in a film about defending First Amendment rights, Mayor Guiliani is
attempting to destroy those same rights for artists". Most of the
artist/protestors had been arrested for selling their paintings on
N.Y.C. streets.

In a radio interview on WNYC's syndicated business news show, "Marketplace",
Elizabeth Freedman, an attorney speaking on behalf of the N.Y.C. Corporation
Counsel's office, affirmed the City's anti-art position. "Visual art...does
not express ideas", Ms. Friedman said, "and as such is not entitled to
First Amendment protection." The appeal was filed in response to a 2nd
circuit Federal Appeals Court ruling affirming that, "Paintings, photographs,
prints and sculptures...always express ideas and as such are entitled to
full First Amendment protection." [to read the ruling go to:
http://www.openair.org/alerts/artist/nyc.html (or)
http://www.tourolaw.edu/2ndcircuit/october96/95-90890.html]

During the demonstration, Jennifer Lim, a candidate for City Council
running against Kathryn Freed, issued a strongly worded statement supporting
artists' rights, including the right to sell one's art on N.Y.C. streets.
Freed and the SoHo Alliance, a landlord advocacy group she sits on the board
of directors of, played a major role in initiating the City's controversial
artist arrest policy. Freed's district includes more than half of the art
galleries in New York City.

On 2/28/96 Freed and the SoHo Alliance joined with the Fifth Avenue
Association and four of Manhattan's Business Improvement Districts to
file an amicus brief in the case claiming, "The sale of artwork does not
involve communication of thoughts or ideas" and warning of, "the dangers
of allowing visual art full First Amendment protection".

Robert Lederman, president of A.R.T.I.S.T. and a plaintiff in the case
said the artists intend to show the Mayor he's dead wrong about art.
"We'll fill the streets with artists showing paintings about the Mayor.
Let's see if he still thinks art has no thoughts or ideas and is not
communicative".

[On Monday and Tuesday March 10th and 11th, A.R.T.I.S.T. members
will be in Washington D.C. demonstrating against the Giuliani
Administration's artist arrest policy. We will be outside the Supreme
Court, the white house and the Capitol. For a schedule call 212 343-4327.]

CONTACT #'s: For information on the street artist Federal lawsuit or
A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists' Response To Illegal State Tactics) visit the
A.R.T.I.S.T. web page at: http://www.openair.org/alerts/artist/nyc.html
or contact Robert Lederman, artistpres@aol.com (718) 369-2111 or (212)
334-4327 Press kits, photos of arrests and artist demonstrations available
on request. N.Y.C. Corporation Counsel (212) 788-0303 Leonard Koerner,
Elizabeth Friedman, Robin Binder attorneys. Council Member Freed
(212) 788-7722. Mayor Giuliani's press office 212 788-2958 fax 788-2975.
Wayne Cross and Randall Fox (attorneys for the artist/plaintiffs
(212) 259-8000. Jennifer Lim Campaign 212 764-5200.

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: 1life [1life@prodigy.net]
Subject: utilities
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 1997 08:42:46 -0500

Good day,  I have been a tenant at my present address for 6+ years.  The
lease agreement specifies that water and elctric are to be paid by the
tenant; the landlord pays for cooking gas and heat.  Recently, new
tenants moved in and attached their own washer in addition to the one
presently within the communal basement.  Accordingly, the last two
electric bills for my apartment have been outrageously high.  I suspect
that my landlord has had my apartment on the very same electrical line
as the the washers and the dryer --- this is not above the actions of
this particular landlord as I learned just prior to the new tenants'
move-in that their electricity is on the same line as the communal hall
ways; these individuals are shouldering the cost for electricity for
everyone's use of the ingresses and egressess of the building.  (Yes,
the electric company is aware, as they were the very ones to point this
out to me -- needless to say, they were not very happy).

But back to my situation, I am particularly unnerved at the thought that
I have likely been paying for the entire building's use of the washers
and dryer not to mention still splitting the cost of the water bill
among the other tenants.  I failed to mention that I have indeed taken
the liberty of turning off the breaker to my apartment only to learn
that in addition to power within my apartment, the basement  lost power
as well.  Before I pack my things and leave, please tell me what my
options are.  Is there any truth that in instances when the landlord
does return security deposits he is supposed to retrun these funds
compounded with interest (gen'lly no more that 2-3%)??  Wouldn't you
think that the costs spread over the past 6+ years would be more than
sufficient to justify return of the security deposit? (there is no other
damage to the apartment to speak of -- the landlord is well aware of
this fact).

ANY assistance and/or suggestions that you may provide would be GREATLY
appreciated.  Are there any legal remedies which I may seek?

------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Patricia Myers [PATRICIAM@queens.lib.ny.us]
Subject: building maintenance
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 1997 09:38:20 -0500 (EST)

Can you give me specifics as to what kind of superintendent services the
landlord must provide for a building of 80 units?  At present we have a
full-time city employee who lives on site but refuses to be available on Sunday,
his "day off."  There is a porter but no other assitant.  Need chapter and
verse for landlord letter.

TenantNet: Look at the various tenants' rights handbooks on the
web site and also the Housing Maintenance Code which is online.

------------------------------------------------------------------
[end 3/8/97]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
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  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 09:56:20 -0500
Subject: ABC Television: If You're a Tenant, You're a Thief


-  If You're a Tenant, You're a Thief: ABC's John Stossel
-    Sloppy Journalism at its Best; ABC Pulls a Boner
-
What follows is the transcript of John Stossel's report on ABC
Television's "Prime Time" which aired February 19, 1997. Just
like the New York Magazine article which ran over a year ago, it's
too obvious -- we just can't prove ABC was bought. But even so,
examine the rhetoric; when a certain "big lie" (even an outrageous
and incredulous one) is repeated over and over, the reader or viewer
tends to believe it. Here ABC's whopper is that rent regulation was
a program for the poor, i.e., the "needy" when from it's inception,
it did and was meant to cover all tenants. Indeed, rent regulation
is no more a "subsidy" as purported by the landlord PR machine than
a method of insuring "affordable rents" as many ideologues would
have it. Rather, it was a broad public policy initiative to keep
the middle-class in the city and stabilize neighborhoods, small
businesses and the tax base. And little mention is made that
most of the so-called rich tenants (Mia Farrow for example) moved
out four years ago when "high income decontrol" was initiated. How
many readers noticed the newspapers the day after NY State Senator
Joe Bruno called for the "end of rent control"? Did you notice that
(especially the NY Post) ran a story on Mia Farrow and her rich
digs?

If such rich tenants are still in place, either they're paying
market rent or they have a stupid landlord. Will Stossel or his
boss at ABC Roone Arledge correct themselves when they discover
that they too (actually anyone) can get a rent stabilized
apartment if they spend a tiny bit more energy than they did
checking the facts for this story? And yes, by the way, it was
real nice for such "journalists" to not even attempt to talk
to any tenant advocates or even try to balance their reportage.

TRANSCRIPT JOHN STOSSEL'S REPORT
ON ABC TV's "PRIME TIME"
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19, 1997
===================================
Sam Donaldson

There's nothing more infuriating to some people than believing
someone else is getting something for nothing. The reason welfare
reform is such a popular idea in the country these days. John
Stossel is here to point out that an awful lot of wealthy people
are happy beneficiaries of laws designed to help people of lesser
mean. Case in point: urban housing. And from where he stands
Stossel doesn't like the law.

Woman

Hello. Manhattan Apartments.

Woman 2

(into camera) I have called every realtor in the entire city.

Woman 3

Everything else I saw was horrible. (at computer screen) It
doesn't even have a sink.

Stossel (showing classified ads)

Finding a place to live is always tense. But in many places,
politicians have done something that makes it tougher. Normally
when you rent an apartment it costs what it costs because of
simple supply and demand.

When demand is high, investors see a chance to make a profit.
They build more housing. Then supply increases. Runs ahead of
demand. And prices back down. The result is affordable housing.
That's how it usually works.

In some 200 American cities, politicians to protect poor people
pass laws that control rent increases, laws that try to protect
us from the cruelties of the market have unintended side effects.

[photo of lady in fur coat, Central Park West building]

Look at what's happened here in the city where I live, This is
some of New York's valuable real estate. Does this look like an
area that has to be protected from market cruelties?

If you could find a 5th Avenue apartment on a floor this high
with this spectacular view, the rent would be more than $10,000 a
month. Alastair Cook has this view. Remember him from Masterpiece
Theater.

Cook (clip from Masterpiece Theater)

I'm Alastair Cook

Stossel [showing photo of Cook's building]

Cook lives in a large apartment on the top floor in this
building. But he doesn't have to pay the $10,000 a month you'd
have to pay, He pays less than a fifth that. Wouldn't you like to
pay less than a fifth of your rent or your mortgage? Cook pays
less because he scored. He was lucky enough to live in this
fashionable building at a time when politicians, to help poor
people, regulated the rents.

Williams

I think he's a thief!

Stossel

Economist Walter Williams. A thief?

Williams

Yes. He's using government to take what belongs to one person and
give it to him. That is, if there were no rent controls he would
have to pay the market price. But, he's not paying market price.

Stossel

But he's not breaking any law.

Williams

But laws don't establish morality.

Stossel

Cook didn't ask for any special breaks. The system just gives it.
Remember the Mayflower Madam? Sidney Biddle Barrows made lots
money running a brothel. She pays about half what you'd have to
pay for her apartment. Lots of politicians, rich businessmen and
celebrities benefit from rent controls meant for the poor. We
usually find out about them after they've been exposed.

[showing shots of former Mayor Ed Koch, Carly Simon, runway
model]

Supermodel Kim Alexis lived under rent protection, singer Carly
Simon and fashion designer Arnold Scassi when he put his
apartment in Architectural Digest [showing apt.], he didn't
mention he was getting a rent break meant for the needy. We've
been trying for weeks to get inside a wealthy person's rent
controlled apartment but it's virtually impossible. People just
laughed and said "no way." We can show you Mia Farrow's old rent
controlled apartment because Woody Allen shot the movie "Hannah
and Her Sisters" here [shot of Mia Farrow], The rent. A third of
what you and I would have to pay on the open market. It's bad
enough, that rent controls let insiders get special deals but the
bigger, unintended consequence of the laws is that apartments
left on the free market cost more. Newcomers pay inflated rents
because cities with rent controls tend to have less housing.

Where there's rent controls, landlords don't want to build. In
unregulated cities like Dallas and Chicago, lots of apartments
are available. In rent controlled cities like New York you have
to bribe someone to get an apartment.

Man

You can pay brokers under the table sometimes.

Woman

But, I would never do that.

Stossel [showing Bronx slums]

Finally, the most destructive unintended consequence of rent
control is that some landlords say, "If I can't raise the rent, I
won't make repairs." And they don't.

Williams

Short of aerial bombardment the best way to destroy a city is the
rent controls.

[shots of abandoned housing]

Stossel

Rent controls is a big reason many landlords abandon their
building. Just walk away from their investment. You see Acres of
it here in New York.

All this led some opinion makers to have doubts. It led some
politicians to question the wisdom of what they had done. Two
years ago, Massachusetts decided to end rent control.

Tucker

People are building housing now in Boston for the first time in
20 years.

Stossel

Author William Tucker who wrote this book about housing policy
[shot of book jacket: "The Excluded Americans"] says it turned
out that only 6% of people getting rent protection in
Massachusetts were poor. These people are now getting subsidies.

Tucker

It would be a very easy thing to subsidize all the people in any
city that need a little help in paying their rent. Instead you
impose this blanket system that ruins the housing market,
benefits all kinds of people who don't need it and then say. "Oh
there's a housing crisis."

Stossel [showing slums]

That's what we have in New York City and other places where rents
are still protected. While the privileged, the insiders, those
who know how to work the system, get to freeload. And that's how
it usually works.

Donaldson

New York City did take some steps in 1993 to decontrol luxury
apartments for tenants with incomes over $250,000 a year.

[END]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 23:12:40 -0500
Subject: NYC Housing Committee meets Tuesday 3/11/97


NYTENANTS ALERT
-
Well we know it's late, but maybe some of you will see this and go.
-
The NYC Housing Committee will have a hearing on rent regulations.
Come and support the repeal of Vacancy Decontrol (the Michels/Fields
bill) that Peter Vallone and the landlords are blocking. If you can,
come early (noon) or if not then, then later in the afternoon after
work to keep tenants there all day long if necessary!

    When:   Tuesday, March 11, 1997 (possibly continued on the 12th)
    Where:  City Hall, Public Hearing Chamber
    Time:   1:00 p.m.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 03:51:11 -0500
Subject: NYTENANTS 3/10/97


NYTENANTS   3/10/97
-
In this issue:
1. Re: ABC's John Stossel: If you're a NYC tenant, you're a thief!
2. Re: Peter Vallone Pushes Decontrol
3. Re: Boycott of Joe Bruno's Saratoga Springs & other politics
4. Lease Renewal Question
5. Landlord Access
6. Re: Access to Meters

------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC's John Stossel: If you're a NYC tenant, you're a thief!
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 12:10:24 -0800
From: Marcia Lemmon [lemmon@idt.net]
Subject: Re: ABC Television: If You're a Tenant, You're a Thief

Regarding the John Stossel PrimeTime Live, one should make their feelings
on this story know to the producers of same.  From checking out ABC's
website [http://www.abc.com/primetime1/ptlive/ptlive.html], you can see
that Phyllis McGrady is the Executive Producer of the show.  They
also have a comment page [http://www.abc.com/vvoice/talk.html] which I
suggest all concerned fill-out and comment to Ms. McGrady and John
Stossel on!!!

Perhaps they should change the title to read "If you're the media, you
can tell half-truths and inaccuracy's and (try to) get away with it..."

------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: Peter Vallone Pushes Decontrol
------------------------------------------------------------------

Subj:	Re: Vallone Pushes Decontrol; Follows Landlord Marching Orders
Date:	97-03-09 11:53:01 EST
From:	poopoo@ix.netcom.com (Robert Levy)

This is why, after 36 years, I left New York for good.  All of the
City's landlords are greedy pigs and should be castrated!

------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: Boycott of Joe Bruno's Saratoga Springs & other politics
------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Hilton7833@aol.com
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 20:39:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: BOYCOTTS

NEED IMMEDIATE ORGANIZATION OF BOYCOTTS TO PRESERVE RENT LAWS SUCH AS
VACATIONS AND TOURISM IN SARATOGA,NY  [BRUNO'S] PLAYGROUND AND OF ABC AND THE
PRIMETIME SPONSERS FOR AIRING STOSSEL'S DISTORTED AND INACCURATE RENT CONTROL
SEGMENT

------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 97  19:04 EST
From: Barbara Robey [LDSBR@CUVMC.AIS.COLUMBIA.EDU]
Subject: Boycott Saratoga Springs

   If you wish to write to the Chamber of Commerce of Saratoga
Springs (the area that Joseph Bruno represents) and tell them
about the proposed boycott of the area by rent controlled
and stabilized tenants here in NYC and around the state the address is

         SARATOGA SPRINGS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
         494 BROADWAY
         SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. 12866

  It might not hurt to mention that not only would the boycott be by
the millions of occupants of the apartments, but also by their
friends and relatives and other supporters.
                                     Barbara

------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 19:29:15 PST
Subject: Rent Control & Stabilization Apartment Dweller Statistics
From: jamesy@juno.com (James Yeargin)

I need to write to several politicians regarding preserving and
upgrading rent protections in NYC rental housing but I do NOT have
statistics to suport the continuance of these laws.

I would also like statistics on landlords supporting my pro -
rent regulation position:  things like 12% of the landlords own 60% of
the NYC housing stock; X% of NYC apartment stock is being held off the
market;  the average yearly income of a rent controlled/stabilized
apartment occuupant is $21,000; etc.  Is any of this accurate?

I would suggest circulating a NYC Rent Regulated Apartment Fact
Sheet (or some such title) to support our position.  Does anyone have
statistics on campaign contributions by large NYC landlords?

I would also suggest circulating a Political Pressure Point Email
Address List showing key politicians' positions and email address:
to wit:

Every State Senator is reached at ...@SENATE.STATE.NY.US

   BRUNO@SENATE.STATE.NY.US
   GOODMAN@SENATE.STATE.NY.US
   (and all others) follow suit, using full surname.

Every State Assembly member is reached ...@assembly.state.ny.us
(note, however, each name is crunched differently, ie;

   gottfrr@assembly.state.ny.us for Richard Gottfried
   hikindd@assembly.state.ny.us for Dov Hikind
   speaker@assembly.state.ny.us for Assembly Speaker Shel Silver
   bragman@assembly.state.ny.us for Michael J. Bragman (majority leader)

Best regards & keep up the good work & tactics.
James Yeargin

------------------------------------------------------------------
Lease Renewal Question
------------------------------------------------------------------

From: gne@ix.netcom.com (Grace Testani)
Subject: Lease Renewal Question
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 1997 17:45:19 GMT

My lease is up for renewal on April 30th.  I have lived here since
1980. We (the tenants) have just recv'ed an MCI rent increase attached
to the rent (in Jan for Nov & Dec and Jan).
When the LL sent the lease, he included a rider which says:

###
"The following rider should be attached to and made part of any lease
executed for vacancy or renewal.
RIDER FOR PENDING MCI APPLICATION
Rider attached to and forming part of the lease dated 12/12/96 between
______ (and this is left blank) agents for the landlord, and _______
(my last name here) for apt # ___ (my apt # here) located in the
building at ___ (address here).

DOCKET NUMBER:  New Application

This is to inform the tenant that an application for a rent increase
based on an application for a Major Capital Improvement or Hardship
Adjustment is pending before the New York State Division of Housing
and Community Renewal (DHCR).  The tenant is bound by an Order of DHCR
for a rent increase based on this pending applications."
###

It is not signed by anyone nor is it dated -- it just says the
landlord's company name .

MY QUESTION:  Is this legal to add such a general rider?  And Not
indicate which docket number we're talking about? Specially since I
just got a rent increase because of an MCI award to the landlord?

How should I handle this?
Thanks for your help.

TenantNet:
This is a standard notice (it's not a rider no matter
what they say) to new tenants that an MCI is pending. If you were here
when the MCI was applied for, it's not necessary for you as you've
already (I assume) had notice of the MCI proceeding and have had an
opportunity to challenge it. This is for new tenants who have no notice
or knowledge of the pending MCI application. If the MCI is approved,
without the rider on new vacancy leases, the owner cannot collect the
MCI from new tenants until the following lease renewal period. With the
rider, he can collect from the new tenant immediately. If you've been
there since 1980, you can ignore it. The standard language on a
rent stabilized renewal form (i.e., "the rent can be changed by an order
of DHCR or the RGB" covers that already.)

I would ignore it and toss it and not sign or return it; chances are
the owner is just trying to cover his ass for new tenants. But make sure
this is not for a second pending MCI.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Landlord Access
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 23:01:16 -0500 (EST)
From: Marie [mtomlins@shiva.hunter.cuny.edu]
Subject: Landlord Access

I moved into my current apartment on February 22.  When the landlord
was giving me the keys shortly before the move-in date, he said to me,
"Oh, by the way, I like to come in on Mondays to get things done."  I
told him I'd rather he didn't come into the apartment while I'm not
there, and that I know how to work a screwdriver.  And then it turned
into a bit of a Thing, him becoming very curious about why I wouldn't
want him to come in here -- I think he was thinking I was in the drug
business or something similar.  Really it's just a privacy issue -- I
just don't want to have anyone poking around my territory.  And a
security issue.  But he took this like I was being totally unreasonable.

I saw that it says on my lease that I have to allow access at
"reasonable times".  To me anytime that I am not in the apartment is
Unreasonable.  Or is it just me?  And do I have the right to keep him
out?  People have suggested changing the locks, but that I think is
illegal -- I have to allow him entrance in case of an emergency situation.
What's the final word on all of this?

Marie

TenantNet: Yes, in emergencies they must have access, and the law does
specify "reasonable times" but it also says (or implies) for a
legitimate purpose (i.e., making repairs or inspection) and with
advance notice (usually 24 hours and you can demand that in writing).
People are entitled to privacy. Reasonable times means business
hours or early evening (if you agree). "Reasonable" is not three
in the morning or 8:00 am Sunday mornings. But if he has a legitimate
purpose and gives advance notice (and you can counter with an
alternative) for what would be considered a reasonable time, you
may have to adjust your schedule to allow him access. You can maintain
control of this process, but keep things in perspective.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: Access to Meters
------------------------------------------------------------------

Previously, Ann Dellarocco [anndell@rdz.stjohns.edu] stated:

]Last summer I was cleaning my windows and found wires connected to my
]windows from someone else.  (My electric bills are sky high).  I cut them,
]and told the LL.  He would never give me access to a storage bin, the
]basement to read meters, but he gave everyone else a key.  He insists that
]I MUST CALL HIM FIRST if i MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH AN INSPECTOR.
]Naturally, he comes the night before and fiddles in the basement.

]After I cut the wires and called the PSC and got some help, I now have a
]GAS BILL in the amount of $36.00, UP FROM $19 or $21.  (I am a woman alone
]who has turned to sandwiches to cut down expense, make one pot of coffee
]every other day, and hardly use the gas.
]HOW CAN I GAIN ACCESS TO THE METERS, either to read them, or have them
]inspected, WITHOUT the LL being present?


TenantNet: Our crack Con Ed contact reports:

She needs to call the customer service number on her bill and tell the
rep that she believes her gas meter has been tampered with because the
bills have practically doubled overnight, and that she'd like the
Security Services department look into it immediately.

If the rep says that it's probably a leak, she should tell him that her
landlord has already been caught tampering with the electric meter, and
politely insist that Security Services get involved. She should also
tell them that the landlord will make it difficult to gain access. Even
if all they want to do is send someone to check for a leak, that's
okay, because they'll call Security Services if any of the piping looks
fishy

I'm sure the rep will be helpful; when these jokers divert gas lines
it's much more dangerous than when they mess with the electricity. If
the rep isn't helpful, [let TenantNet know and we'll pass it along
to our Con Ed contact to see if we can get a better response.]

------------------------------------------------------------------
[end 3/10/97]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 01:44:44 -0500
Subject: NYTENANTS 3/11/97


NYTENANTS   3/11/97
-
In this issue:
1. City Council Housing Committee meeting 3/11/97
2. Reader reaction to ABC John Stossel's report
3. Comment on Landlord Access for repairs

------------------------------------------------------------------
City Council Housing Committee meeting 3/11/97
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 21:16:06 -0500
From: glove@thing.net
Subject: Re: NYC Housing Committee meets Tuesday 3/11/97

Well -- i just returned from City Hall, Public Hearing Chamber where i
attended the public hearing on rent regulations and vacancy decontrol. I
can only describe it as a circus of marginalized people pleading for their
futures before a well heeled ringmaster court of council. If you expect to
see any rights of the majority recognized by City Hall i suggest you take a
moment now, right now, to write a deeply focused letter to Archie Spigner.
And, this is just your first step. It's going to be a long knock-down
drag-out conflict, get used to it, or get used to paying 500% inflationary
rates on the roof over your head over the next three years. Writing a
letter now means having some cash left over for health care or education or
food and clothing in the year 2000. If you don't take action you don't
deserve to sympathize.

     Honorable Archie Spigner
     City Hall
     New York, New York  10001
     212-788-7069

They will probably read your letter, but volume is all you, the public, really
has to fight with. Do not delay. I heard there will be a private hearing
behind closed doors around the end of the week. I don't think they care
about you very much from their behaviour. You'd be wise to let them know
you're out there.


TENANTNET: We've heard Spigner might face a challenge for re-election.
Perhaps tenant support for the challenger (if deserved) might knock
some sense into the Honorable Mr. Spigner.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Reader reaction to ABC John Stossel's report
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 06:45:32 -0500
From: "HILTON OR JUNE W. SIEGEL" [hiddencove@compuserve.com]

After reading the text of ABC's Primetime program and John Stossel's
irresponsible report titled "If You're a Tenant, You're a Thief", I think
tenants should make it known to the program's sponsers that we intend to
boycott their products.

If anyone can provide a list of the sponsers with addresses, telephone
numbers and/or e-mail addresses, we can individually let the sponsers
know how we feel.


TENANTNET: Stossel's segment on ABC's "Prime Time" February 19 was
not entitled "If You're a Tenant, You're a Thief". That was the
title of our message describing the essence of Stossel's report.
We're not sure if Stossel's report actually had a title or not.
We regret if that caused any confusion.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Subj:  Stossel/Rent Control
Date:  97-02-22 02:50:55 EST
From:  an anonymous poster on the net to ABC

I'd like to comment on your broadcast last night, in particular John
Stossel's piece on rent control "scams".  I know that tabloid television is
the yellow journalism of our age, but it's rare that I've seen a report so
filled with half-truths, unfounded accusations, and general misinformation.
I find this particularly painful since I'm a great fan of John Stossel's.  I
admit to an indecent amount of enjoyment when he puts some pompous bureaucrat
or activist in the frying pan, and they pretty generally deserve to be there.
He always has the common sense facts to back up his assertions.  But last
night he seemed to leave fact finding behind.  Is he simply angry because his
neighbor is paying less in rent than he is?  With all of the shouting about
rich creeps who are scamming the system, it was not difficult but rather
impossible to pick out any facts.

First and foremost, he never even explained to the probably befuddled public
here in flyover country (us folks who don't have to live on top of each other
and fight for housing) what a rent control law is.  One sentence explaining
that the basic idea behind this, for good or ill, is that a landlord can only
raise the rent by a set amount each year until and unless a tenant moves out
would have cleared up just what he was saying.  Instead, we were left
scratching our heads, wondering just how all these rich monsters were
cheating the government or the system or somebody.  The upshot was that
Alistair Cooke, who has lived in the same building in New York for many years
and therefore has only had his rent jacked up by a certain amount, is now a
"rent control cheat," for the unforgivable crime of simply not moving since
the law was passed.  No doubt his landlord is rubbing his hands together,
waiting for the dear old man to die so that he can send the rent through the
roof, but this hardly makes Cooke a cheat or crook of any variety.  In my
opinion, it casts a darker light on the owner.  Though I think it's a
terrible idea that only drives up rents and empties neighborhoods, many poor
and middle class Americans have benefitted from rent control, including me
for the six years I lived in Los Angeles.  I'm not a crook, and neither is
anybody else who happens, by the vicissitudes of fate, to come out ahead in
this.

Rally to change the law if you will, but do it on the basis of the facts. I
thought John Stossel was above spewing out hatred of the "rich", hoping to
blind his listeners to any of the inconvenient facts.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Subj:  Stossel/Rent Control
From:  TenantNet to ABC (and followup to the previous message)

As a followup to the previous message, many in New York (including this
former Midwesterner) believe ABC News was "bought" in the same manner an
almost identical New York Magazine article reported on Rent Control (we call
it rent regulation) over a year ago. This is part of the real estate's
industry gearing up their public relation's campaign (and boasted by the Rent
Stabilization Assn., the landlord trade group). Stossel repeated time after
time that the program was meant for the poor, i.e., the "needy" which ignores
its beginning in 1943 and to this day it's a market-wide system affecting
both poor and less-poor. SImply put, it was an effort to keep the
middle-class in the city, to keep the neigborhoods stable and the tax-base
viable. The system never was intended to be a program for the "needy". Rent
Regulation has paid off in New York unlike cities like Detroit which never
had any form of rent control, never took any effort to keep the middle-class
in the city, and as a result, is nothing but a burned-out shell.

Then Stossel's illogic wants you to believe on one hand that all these rich
people are ripping off the poor little landlord when a) 78% of the units in
NYC are owned by 12% of the landlords (people like Helmsley and Trump) and b)
the largest concentration of Rent Control units in NYC are in the Upper East
Side, which just happens to be a very nice neighborhood.

If Rent Control is so bad, then why is the Upper East Side not similar to
those pictures Stossel showed of the burned-out slums? Abandonment of housing
is a complex issue, but not one caused by Rent Control. Look at things like
zoning, finance, speculation and other factors. Unfortunately they aren't
sexy enough issues for a publicity-hound like Stossel and it might force
Roone Arledge to actually think.

Stossel didn't mention that the system is open to all -- even him. It's not a
matter of being lucky enough to have gotten the deal in the 1940's or 1950's
and staying there for 40 years. You can get Rent Stabilized units today.
There's 1.2 million of them.

Nor did Stossel mention that most of the rich folk -- Mia Farrow, Carly Simon
and others (representing 1/2 of one percent of all rent regulated tenants)
moved out in 1993 when the laws changed deregulating units whose tenants made
over $250,000. If Alistair Cook still lives in his unit, then either he's
paying market rent or has a stupid landlord. On the other hand, how do we
know that Cook is that rich? Does Stossel know?

We also note that Stossel's report failed to interview a single opposite
viewpoint. If this is a News Department story, shouldn't a tenant advocate at
least been given an opportunity to balance the reportage? Apparently not as
Stossel's no journalist.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Date:  97-03-10 07:17:45 EST
From:  vhong@fir.fbc.com (Victor Hong)

World War II rent regulations were enforced very
thoroughly, even after 1945, in an attempt to
keep middle-class families in New York?
Obviously, this policy worked very well, particularly
in the South Bronx.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Comment on Landlord Access for repairs
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 18:28:21 -0800
From: a dedicated tenant attorney
Subject: your response to Marie [mtomlins@shiva.hunter.cuny.edu]

You probably don't know this, but 28 R.C.N.Y. (Rules of the City of New
York) Section 25-101 reqires seven days' notice, in writing, when a
landlord seeks access to do repairs.  The R.C.N.Y. are the
administrative regulations promulgated by NYC agencies (e.g., the Loft
Board, or, in this case, HPD).

------------------------------------------------------------------
[end 3/11/97]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 06:51:48 -0500
Subject: East Side Rent Regulation Forum -- Tonight 3/13/97


There will be an East Side Rent Regulation Forum at Hunter College Assembly
Hall tonight, Thursday, March 13th at 7:30 p.m. sponsored by the East Side
Tenants Coalition and the City and Suburban Housing Tenants Association.
Speakers include Roy Goodman, Andrew Eristoff and Gifford Miller. For more
information call 212-249-0582.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 08:23:12 -0500
Subject: Picket NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone - Friday 3/14/97


STOP PETER VALLONE FROM ENDING BASIC TENANT PROTECTIONS
-
NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone continues to block the
repeal of Vacancy Decontrol that he and his landlord
buddies rammed through the City Council in 1994.
-
Tenants across NYC will picket Peter Vallone
at his District Office tomorrow, Friday March 14.
This is for ALL NYC TENANTS, not just Queens.

     When:    Friday March 14 from 4-7:00 PM
     Where:   Vallone's District Office
              22-45 31st Street in Astoria, Queens
              Take the "N" train to the last stop
              (31st St. and Ditmars Blvd).

And after you picket, go into the Astoria commercial area,
find a nice restaurant and have a good meal. Make a point
to talk to the owner/manager of the restaurant and tell
him or her that if Vallone's Decontrol continues, his
constituents (and their customers) will no longer have
enough disposable income to keep small business alive.

AND IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE PICKET LINE
Phone, Fax and Email Peter Vallone: see below

Vallone's former aide Joe Strasburg (now head of the landlord
trade group Rent Stabilization Association) made sure that all
vacant apartments face the possibility of being decontrolled.
Tenants face increases in harassment as landlords attempt to empty
apartments, raise rents and eliminate lease protections. And with
less rent regulated apartments, Vallone and Strasburg create the
myth that rent regulation is only available to the privileged.
Vallone is telling callers to his office that he "supports" tenant
protections, but his version actually continues Vacancy Decontrol.

Reports indicate that the Repeal of Vacancy Decontrol could actually pass
the City Council if given a fair hearing, and that would send a strong
message to Albany to renew the rent laws without weakening amendments. But
Vallone is blocking all attempts to let elected city council members decide
for themselves. He's blocking the introduction of a bill by Council members
Stanley Michels and Virginia Fields, and threatening other council members
with retaliation if they vote their conscience.

Join the picket line and demand the End of Vacancy Decontrol. Demand that
Speaker Vallone support the Michels/Fields renewal bill. NYC does not need
obscene rents advocated by Vallone, Strasburg and Joe Bruno. Send the
message to Albany: renew the rent laws with no weakening amendments.

What else you can do...

Phone Vallone: call and fax Speaker Vallone: a city-wide phone-in continues.
Express yourself on his plan to continue decontrol. Call and fax all
Vallone's numbers below

City Hall Phone (212) 788-7210 / Fax (212) 788-7207
District Phone (718) 274-4500 / Fax (718) 726-0357

For more information call:
   Astoria Concerned Neighbors: 718-274-0717
   Queens League of United Tenants: 718-261-8015
   Met Council on Housing: 212-693-0553.

[end]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Sat, 15 Mar 1997 05:04:26 -0500
Subject: NYTENANTS 3/15/97


NYTENANTS   3/15/97
-
In this issue:
1. ABC's sleazy "journalism"
2. Corruption in NYC Civil Court
3. NY Times Non-Reporting
4. Peter Vallone
5. Lease Protection
6. Security Deposits
7. Harassment
8. March 27th - Public Housing Action Day
9. Advice on tenant-installed appliances

------------------------------------------------------------------
FLASH... Vallone pushes continuing Decontrol Bill through NYC
Council Housing Committee. More info later.
------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------
More on: ABC's sleazy "journalism"
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 10:44:06 +0000
From: anita culp [kato@interport.net]
Subject: ABC's sleazy "journalism"

I tried to log a complaint with ABC over the "Primetime" story (and
fiction it was!) on rent regulation.  I was not too surprised to find
that "email is down, please see our FAQ page"!
Guess we'll have to resort to snailmail.

Also, on another front, the Village Democratic Club is having a
meeting tonight on the threatened repeal of rent regulations.
Sheldon Silver is speaking.  I thought I'd read somewhere that he's
merely posing as a tenant advocate, but is not really supporting us.
Do you know what his position is?


TenantNet: Many Democrats give good speeches but do little to
clean up DHCR or the court system. Silver is not viewed as being
pro-tenant and has supported landlord-backed candidates.
Silver has introduced Assembly Bill #2 which he claims is pro-tenant
legislation (there are a few good items in there and a number of
horrible things). Overall it's lousy legislation. He claims it's a
starting point for negotiations with the republicans, but it's
really a poison pill (designed to fail) so when he does eventually
"cave in" he can wash his hands and say he tried -- a way for him
and fellow Democrats to insulate themselves from accountability.
Most NYC tenant groups rejected this legislation last year.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Corruption in NYC Civil Court
------------------------------------------------------------------

From: DeeLuv1957@aol.com
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 00:30:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Corruption in NYC Civil Court

Judges are violating the rights of tenants and many of us feel hopeless.
Housing court administration seems to just slap the hands of those reported.
To my knowledge there is but one place to file a complaint and that is w/the
Administrative judge.  That's it for Housing Court Judges.  This can't
continue and if someone wishes to share information as to how to remedy this
matter, please let me know.  I know that attorneys who eventually wish to
become JUDGES are not interested in "making waves."  Many tenants are losing
their apartments due to improprieties of judges.  I can't believe that Judge
Scott was the only bad apple in the bag.

TenantNet: Judge Scott of Manhattan Housing Court was caught accepting
bribes, but taking money is not the only form of corruption, or of
corrupting the law. You wonder why it's so bad? Guess who picks who the
judges will be -- you guessed it -- landlords. For details, see the
page on the Housing Court Advisory Council on the web site.

------------------------------------------------------------------
NY Times Non-Reporting
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 14:06:21 -0500
From: "HILTON OR JUNE W. SIEGEL" [hiddencove@compuserve.com]
Subject: NY Times Non-Reporting

How can we get the NY Times to report on the daily events concerning
the rent laws and the 2.6 million people it will affect? Is their
editorial and reporting policy to report on "All the News that Fit to
Print" only if it affects the wealthy?

------------------------------------------------------------------
Peter Vallone
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 21:33:57 -0800
From: Marcia Lemmon [lemmon@idt.net]
Subject: Peter Vallone

Hey there - while I wouldn't expect Peter Vallone & company to have an
e-mail address, his office sponsers a home page for the City Council.  On
that page, is a way to give Speaker Vallone feedback.  The e-mail address
is: mailto:feedback@csu.council.nyc.ny.us


TenantNet: We called Vallone's office and the computer department said
Vallone's email was vallone@csu.council.nyc.ny.us (but we haven't tried it).

------------------------------------------------------------------
Lease Protection
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 97 16:10:00 -0500
From: Maria Chapan [chapanm@cowen.com]
Subject: re: Lease Protection

If anyone has any information regarding "Lease Protection" please advise,
as a "new " apartment renter, I am basically un-aware of the laws that are out
there to protect the "renter". As of the past week I am having a problem with
the landlord, and I have a lot of questions. THANK YOU for your help

TenantNet: "Lease Protection" can mean many things. If you are rent stabilized
in NYC, one of the basic protections offered is that owner's are required
to offer you a renewal lease at the legal rent and on the same terms and
conditions as the expiring lease. You can get a good overview of the complicated
rent laws on the web site.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Security Deposits
------------------------------------------------------------------

From: DogTalking@aol.com
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 19:32:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Security Deposits

I have a question about my security deposit. I'll try to be brief in
explaining the situation. When I signed my lease 9 years ago, I thought I
heard my landlord say that he was putting the security deposit in an interest
bearing account. It doesn't say this on my original lease. Now I have given
60 days notice that I am moving and not asking to renew my lease. I asked him
what about the interest on my security. His lawyer just happened to be right
there and she told us that he was never required to do that. I am renting
this apartment in a co-op building. My landlord owns this apartment and rents
it to me, in other words. I know that it is not rent regulated or stabilized,
but I just wonder if it is really true that he is not required to put the
security in a separate account that would be earning a lot of interest by
now.


TenantNet: From the CTRC Fact Sheet #6 on the web site:

"The NYS General Obligations Law provides that all rent security
deposit moneys, plus accrued interest, if any, be held in trust
by the landlord, separate from the landlord's own funds. The term
"in trust" means that the moneys collected for a rent security deposit
remain the property of the tenant and must be placed in an individual
tenant account. In buildings of six or more apartments, the law requires
all deposits be held in interest-bearing accounts in a bank within New
York State. In smaller buildings, the landlord is not required to hold
deposit moneys in an interest-bearing account, but if he does, the
interest earned becomes the property of the tenant."

------------------------------------------------------------------
Harassment
------------------------------------------------------------------

From: CitizensH@aol.com
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 09:08:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Harassment

I am currently researching New York State and New York City Laws pertaining
to harassment of individuals in rental units. I am aware of the RSL, but am
wondering what other protections are provided to tenants in unregulated
units.


TenantNet: To put it simply, there are no harassment provisions in real life,
no matter that there are laws on the books. The RSL provisions are rarely
enforced by DHCR and the courts have changed the meaning from the type
of harassing activities performed by landlords to whether or not tenants
can prove what they term "intentional infliction of emotional distress."
That means one must prove intent (near impossible) and must also show
one was emotionally affected. And of course that's a loaded phrase that
involves psychological evaluations and more. About once every five years
you hear about harassment charges, but that's only on the most egregious
cases, where the landlord was caught hitting the tenant with a baseball
bat or things like that -- that they cannot look the other way. For
unregulated tenants the only thing I know is the "Retaliatory Eviction"
claim one can allege as a defense to an eviction case. That's in
Real Property Law section 223-b. Even that is limited.

------------------------------------------------------------------
March 27th - Public Housing Action Day
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 19:21:58 -0500
From: Sharsher@aol.com
Subject: March 27th - Public Housing Action Day

Residents and supporters across the country are participating in  a local
action day on March 27th. The purpose of March 27th is to send Congress and
President Clinton the message that they should protect the federal
government's investment in public and Section 8 housing.

Tenants are concerned  that Congress is moving very quickly on Congressman
Lazio's newest bill HR 2. that would change the lives of people who live in
public housing.

We are concerned that Congress and President Clinton will cut public and
subsidized housing programs --again.

The Center for Community Change has a Campaign Kit which can be obtained from
Jennfier Anderson at (718) 636-3486 ext 6445 or Othello Poulard at (202)
342-0519.

In Upstate New York we are still in the planning stages but we will have some
action. We would be happy to share information and here of other actions being
planned.

Sharon Sherman -
Greater Syracuse Tenants Network -
sharsher@aol.com
315-475-8092

------------------------------------------------------------------
Advice on tenant-installed appliances
------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 00:52:01 -0500
From: a Manhattan tenant
Subject: Advice on tenant-installed appliances

I was in landlord-tenant court this morning before Judge Howard
Malatzky, a very fine judge who in the course of hearing the facts of the
case lectured me and the people in the courtroom about tenant rights.  He
said no one should ever buy their appliances from the landlord unless they
plan on moving out within three years.  If they want new ones, they should
install them personally instead of paying the extra 1/40th of the cost per
month forever.  All the tenant has to do is NOTIFY the landlord of the
purchase of the new appliance and request that the old one be moved before
the new one is delivered.  The landlord's agent, lied about the landlord's
reponsibility to fix or replace our non-working refrigerator and oven,
AND about our right to install our own appliances, but the judge said
"the fact that she lied to you isn't relevant" because once we sign the
paper telling the landlord to put in the new appliances there is nothing,
the judge says, we or he can do about it the eternal 1/40th charge.
The only thing the landlord can object to is "material alteration" of an
apartment.  Replacing appliances or even a sink is, according to past
decisions of Judge Malatzky that have been upheld on appeal, not a
material alteration.


TenantNet: In Nestor v. McDowell, 81 NY2d 410 (1993), the lower court
found a technical breach of lease for the tenants' installing a
washing machine and associated plumbing. Before rushing to install
your own appliances or improvements, one should study this issue
a bit more carefully. Each case may have its own spin. Maybe our
tenant-lawyers on this list would like to chime in on this issue.

------------------------------------------------------------------
[end 3/15/97]
------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
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  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 09:48:02 -0500
Subject: Rent Law Renewal in NY City Council: Fri. 3/21/97 9 a.m.

As the NY City Council prepares to vote this coming Tuesday,
March 25 on the renewal of Rent Stabilization and Rent Control,
lobbying and positioning among city council members has become
fast and furious.

We have a lot of news to disseminate, some good and some bad,
so we'll try to catch you up to speed in this and subsequent
messages.

First, for AOL users who did not get (or only partially got)
our last email digest of two days ago, we discovered that
the wonderful AOL software converted the digest into a
downloadable text file. Some users did not realize there
was much more and only saw the first 2k of the message.
We're in touch with AOL on this issue and are seeking a
way to find a fix. In the meantime, we'll try to make
the digests smaller so it won't trigger the 32k limit
for AOL software.

TODAY: I know this is late notice, but once again tenants
are going to picket NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone for
his continuing stance on maintaining Vacancy Decontrol. He
is misinforming tenants by raising the "high income" decontrol
issue, which has absolutely nothing to do with Vacancy Decontrol,
or what is also called "High Rent Decontrol". In the last week,
with all the protests (and his reported desire to run for
Governor), he has moved a smidgen. More on that later, but
tenants need to keep the pressure on and tell Vallone he
needs to repeal the High Rent Vacancy Decontrol that he
and his landlord buddies pushed through City Council in 1994.

The bill that Vallone & landlords are pushing is "Intro 920-A"
which has some flowery language, but nothing else of substance.
The bill that Tenants have pushed for is "Intro 930". That bill
(formerly know as the Michels/Fields bill) was not reported
out of Housing Committee and will be offered as an amendment
on the floor of the City Council. Technically it is no longer
known as "Intro 930", but the amendment to Repeal Vacancy
Decontrol. More on the details later, but if you call, make
sure you demand they support the Repeal of Vacancy Decontrol
and NOT Vallone's bill, 920-A.

     When:    Friday March 21 from 4:30-6:30 PM
     Where:   Vallone's District Office
              22-45 31st Street in Astoria, Queens
              Take the "N" train to the last stop
              (31st St. and Ditmars Blvd).

For more information, call Astoria Concerned Neighbors
at (718) 274-0717.

What else you can do...

Phone Vallone: call and fax Speaker Vallone.
Email is nice, but they often don't read email, so call & fax.

City Hall Phone (212) 788-7210 / Fax (212) 788-7207
District Phone (718) 274-4500 / Fax (718) 726-0357

[end 3/21/97]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 17:53:00 -0500
Subject: Open Access to Governmental Information


OPEN ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
-
When we get a few minutes respite from the Rent Wars, we hope to
discuss various aspects of access to government information. This is
an area we're deeply interested in. Even now, we're preparing to sue
the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)
for their failure to release the body of their decisions to the public.
The 5,800 decisions currently on TenantNet (which represents a small
portion of what is available), was only released after we threatened
legislative action against the agency in 1994. The following is from
Citizens for Open Access to Legislation (COAL), a "good government"
group in Albany with whom we've worked and agree on many of their
issues. They can be reached at neale@servtech.com. Common Cause
is another group that is working to open up access to campaign
finance records. This issue is important for tenants as many wonder how
tenants have so little power. It's simple: both major political parties
are taking gobs of money from real estate interests either directly
or through Politcial Action Committees. Many of the legislators who
claim to be friends of tenants get this money. You figure it out.

***********************

C.O.A.L. Update 3/22/97

o   PLAY IT AGAIN, GEORGE/JOE/SHEL . . .

Is Albany setting us up for a replay of last year's losing battle over the
public's right to have easy access to campaign finance information?
Assemblywoman Sandra Galef (D-Ossining) has introduced a bill to require
the Board of Elections to implement electronic filing. Assembly Bill A2415,
like the bill she introduced last session, would require candidates
spending more than fifty thousand dollars to submit their information in
electronic form. As soon as information is verified, it would be made
available via the Internet and other public media.

You may recall that State Senate leaders responded to last year's effort by
a) ignoring it; b) announcing that they would introduce their own bill,
which would "out-sunshine" the Assembly's bill; c) introducing a decoy,
which was allowed to die; and eventually d) sending to the other chamber a
bill which, although it had many of the same goals, imposed punitive
reporting requirements on labor unions. In the opinion of many observers,
that was an intentional poison pill, deliberately sabotaging any chance for
action on this crucial reform issue.

o   ALTERNATE ROUTE ALSO HAS ROADBLOCKS . . .

The Board of Elections, which is charged with, among other things "...the
preservation of citizen confidence in the democratic process..." could
theoretically act on its own to implement electronic filing and access.

But while the State of Minnesota has a bill before its legislature to study
the possibility of actually voting via the Internet, and many rural
municipalities in our state have pages on the World Wide Web, our State
Board of Elections can't seem to find a way to keep its records in digital
form, so that ordinary citizens can access them.

Of course, electronic filing would mean that the Board would lose its
justification for hiding those records in file cabinets in Albany. There
would no longer be any excuse for failing to make those records available
to us in a useful form, and in a timely manner. Anyone with rudimentary
computer skills would have a chance to use simple information processing
tools; search, sort, cut-and-paste; to put together an accurate picture of
who paid what to whom and when. Citizens would be able to combine this with
voting information and draw their own conclusions about whether or not any
individual legislator is for sale.

Politicians plainly view this prospect with as much enthusiasm as vampires
view a suntan, and for pretty much the same reason.

Here's what's happened so far: the Board submitted its request, as it has
for the past several years, for an appropriation to begin computerizing
election records. And the Governor, as again is the case for the past
several years, rejected it. The drill was modified slightly this year; in
addition to rejecting the Board's proposal, Governor Pataki's proposed
budget will REDUCE its funding by $67,000.

The Board of Elections has equal numbers of members from both parties, to
avoid the appearance of partisanship. But partisanship is not really the
problem. The problem is that at the nexus of power, politicians on BOTH
sides of the aisle have a common interest in keeping campaign finance
information functionally unavailable. And appearance of impartiality or no,
the Board itself is an arm of the political machine. More about the Board's
stalling on reform issues next time.

As noted at the beginning of this update, the Legislature could always make
the Board's inaction moot by coming to some agreement on one of the many
electronic filing bills introduced each session. So far, caught between
public clamor for open government and adamant behind-the-scenes opposition
from the leadership, lawmakers have predictably opted to cover their
political butts with an endless succession of one-house bills. Activists
must continue pounding home the point that warring political parties -- who
otherwise devote most of their energy to publicly demonizing each other --
have no problem cooperating to keep useful information out of the hands of
citizens. Both parties are all too keenly aware that the status quo is
maintainable only so long as they can continue to hide their links to
special-interest money.

o    THE BIG BUDGET BATTLE MEETS THE GIANT PAY RAISE SCAM . . .

For the fourteenth year in a row, New York State's budget is not expected
to be in place until long after the legally-mandated deadline of April
first. Some observers speculate that 1997 could see the latest state budget
agreement in history.

Think this is a trivial problem? Here's just one area of impact: interest
that school districts had to pay last year because of the late budget
totaled half a BILLION dollars. Half a billion dollars that came out of
your pocket and mine, money that could have been spent to improve education
or health care, was instead wasted by our lawmakers on partisan wrangling.
These battles were not over lofty matters of principle. They were the moral
equivalent of toddlers squabbling in the sandbox over who gets to use the
pail and shovel first.

This happens because state legislators have abdicated their individual
decision-making responsibility. Leaders set the agenda, control the
committees, and give the rank and file prefabricated deals to rubber-stamp.
The inability of the top few people to share power amicably becomes the
limiting factor in conducting the business of state government.

Now, stung by criticism that their behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing
is what really holds up the budget, legislative leaders are said to be
drafting an innovative scheme for meeting the constitutional budget
deadline. Their creative solution: bribery!

Recall last December's post-election special session, when the idea of
voting on a legislative pay raise was met with such a blast of public
negativity that it was reluctantly abandoned. Three months later, leaders
are rumored to be brokering a newer and more devious deal: if all parties
to the budget discussions sign on to unspecified compromises right now, in
time to make the April first deadline, everyone will be "taken care of."
Leaders will orchestrate a "cost-of-living" increase in legislative
salaries. Albany spin doctors are being prepped to stress that this is NOT
a legislative pay raise (wink, nudge). It is simply an "adjustment" for
hard-working legislators.

Whether or not legislators deserve more money, tying it to their acceptance
of a miraculously on-time budget is just one more example of the sort of
transparently venal legislative deal-making that causes so many New Yorkers
to turn away from their newspapers and TV screens in disgusted disbelief.

Will the lure of more pocket money turn the trick, so to speak? Here's my
fearless prediction for the outcome of the 1997 Big Budget Battle: the
Legislature will set a record, one way or the other. Either the bribery
ploy will work, delivering a tainted but punctual budget, or its failure
will fuel a new cycle of petty haggling -- dragging on into the fall,
eclipsing the worst previous late budget record by a month or more.

o    ACTION ITEMS . . .

     o  Call your State Senator. Ask him/her to sponsor a Senate companion
bill
        to A2415 to enact computerization of campaign finance information.

     o  Ask your Assembly representative to sign on to A2415. Though the
        Assembly passed it, a long list of sponsors makes it embarrassingly
        obvious that the Senate is holding up something people really want.

Reginald Neale, Secretary
C.O.A.L. (Citizens for Open Access to Legislation)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.





Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 07:17:24 -0500
Subject: Tonight at 7 PM: Housing Forum at City Hall

Monday March 24th -- Tonight at 7 PM: Housing Forum at City Hall
-
The Oscars won't begin till nine and here's a chance to give
landlord buddies City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and
Antonio Pagan a piece of your mind before City Council votes
on continuing Rent Regulation on Tuesday, March 25.

Perhaps in an attempt to co-opt the issue, Peter Vallone --
who remains under severe criticism for his Pro-Decontrol
policies -- has scheduled a "Housing Forum" at City Hall
tonight at 7:00 p.m. If you can't come, it is supposed
to be televised live by cable channel NY1 News. (And perhaps this
will also set a record for media coverage of housing
issues in more than thirty-second clips.)

Pagan, who will be one of several panel members at the forum,
is running for Manhattan Borough President and is
notorious for his pro-landlord policies. It was reported to us
that during Housing Committee hearings on March 11th, Pagan
ripped up tenant literature that was handed to him. Pagan
also appointed Ray Cline to Community Board 5 who, as Manager
of the embattled Longacre SRO Hotel, was reportedly put in jail
for allegedly conducting illegal evictions. See related stories
at:

    http://tenant.net/Tengroup/Metcounc/Oct96/longacre.html
    http://hellskitchen.net/issues/bprez.html

Vallone, who is sponsoring the forum, allegedly made threats to City
Council member Stanley Michels over his sponsorship of the Michels/
Fields bill (Intro. 930) that would have repealed Vacancy
Decontrol imposed by Vallone and his former chief aid, Landlord leader Joe
Strasburg. Michels apparently caved into Vallone's pressure on March 14.
Although it was claimed by sources at City Hall that tenant
groups had approved Vallone's bill, 920-A (that would continue
Vacancy Decontrol), after a week of checking, not one single tenant
group has owned up to approving or even acquiesing to Vallone's bill.

For the full text of both Vallone's Intro 920-A and
what was known as the Michels/Fields bill, Intro 930, see TenantNews at:

    http://tenant.net/tenantnews/nyc/news.cgi

If you can make the forum, please show up early as it's anticipated
Vallone will try to "stack" the meeting with his landlord friends. Come
with hard-hitting questions for the panel. If Vallone is serious about
running for Governor, he should know that his policies are unacceptable.

The full text announcing the Housing Forum follows:

************************

The Council of the City of New York
Office of Communications
City Council
City Hall
(212) 788-7116

City Council to Hold Public Forum
on Housing Crisis in New York City

"The Housing Crisis in New York City" will be the focus of
another in a monthly series of City Council Forums designed to
address major issues affecting New York City and its residents.
The forum will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on
Monday, March 24, 1997 from 7-8 p.m. It is open to the media and
will be carried live by New York 1 News.

The audience will be made up of members of the public who will
be invited to comment and ask questions of the panel.

"One of the basics of life is your home," said Speaker Peter
F. Vallone. "Affordable housing, good housing, ways to solve New
York City's Housing Crisis -- those are the issues our panel of
experts will be addressing. We all know the problems. Now, we
hope, we can learn more about the solutions."

Participants in Monday's forum will be:

o Antonio Pagan, Chair, Subcommittee on Abandonment, Foreclosure and
  Disinvestment

o Helen M. Marshall, Member of the Committee on Housing and Buildings

o Anne Pasmanick, Executive Director, Community Training and Resource
  Center

o Claire Haaga, President, Housing and Services, Inc.

o Frank Braconi, Executive Direcctor, Citizens Housing and Planning
  Council

The forum moderator will be former WCBS Radio anchor Harvey Hauptman.

###
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

 

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