Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 15:17:52 -0400
Subject: Phoney Vallone Breaking Lead Paint Campaign Pledge

Tenants Online                                            6/4/99
In this issue...

* Will Council Sneak Through Weakened Lead-Paint Law? 

* What you can Do: Picket Peter Vallone
  Demand He Keep His Promise to Children 

* What's Wrong with the Vallone Bill
  What's Right with Intro 205

* What Vallone is trying to sneak past the public
  Latest Update Friday, June 4

Listen to Housing Notebook, with Scott Sommer
Mondays at 7 p.m. on WBAI, 99.5 FM

Will Council Sneak Through Weakened Lead-Paint Law? 
By Steven Wishnia
Tenant/Inquilino, June 1999

The City Council leadership may be planning to rush through legislation
weakening the city’s lead-paint law.

Andy Goldberg, a lawyer with the New York Public Interest Research Group,
says NYPIRG was informed May 21 that the Council leadership was going to
introduce a lead-paint bill, hold hearings on it for one day, and have it
passed eight days later. The bill’s content was unknown, but it is likely
to be much more favorable to landlords than Intro 205, a measure sponsored
by Councilmember Stanley Michels (D-Manhattan) that has been bottled up by
the Council leadership for the last two years.

Neither Goldberg, who represented the New York City Coalition to End Lead
Poisoning in its lawsuit to get the city to enforce its current law, nor
NYCCELP co-chair Cordell Cleare, a staffer for Councilmember Bill Perkins,
has seen any actual legislation yet. “No one I know has seen it, but we
know it’s not going to be the right thing,” Cleare told Tenant/Inquilino.
Council Speaker Peter Vallone’s office referred calls to the Council’s
legislative-agenda office, which said they wouldn’t know until the day the
bill was actually introduced.

Met Council plans to picket Vallone’s Astoria district office on June 8, to
demand a hearing on Intro 205 and to protest any weaker lead-paint bill
that might be introduced. [call 693-0553 for latest information]

“There is a real lead-paint bill. Stan Michels has sponsored it. It has not
moved,” Councilmember Stephen DiBrienza told Met Council’s annual assembly
on May 22. “There are not a lot of gray areas. It’s not a place to cut

Lead poisoning affects 30,000 New York City children, with 1,049 diagnosed
as severely poisoned in 1997. Especially at the levels considered severe—20
micrograms per deciliter of blood—it badly hinders children’s intel-
lectual development. According to Goldberg, 90% of buildings built before
1947 have lead paint, and it is most likely to affect children in poorly
maintained buildings.

The highest concentrations of severely poisoned children occur in a belt
stretching through central Brooklyn into Queens, from Red Hook through
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, and Flatbush to Jamaica, with other clusters
in the western Bronx, Washington Heights, and the industrial neighborhoods
of western Queens. Bushwick was the neighborhood most affected, with 4.8
out of every 1,000 children diagnosed as severely poisoned in 1997. Of the
1,285 children diagnosed as severely poisoned in 1996, nearly half were
black, and over 90% were black, Latino, or Asian.

While the number of new cases of severely poisoned children declined from
1996 to 1997, Goldberg notes that the percentage of children screened for
lead poisoning also dropped, from 56% of all city children under 7 in 1996
to 44% in 1997—and is likely to have fallen further since then, as the
Giuliani administration has used welfare cuts to push families off Medicaid
as well. Eighty percent of lead-poisoned children are eligible for
Medicaid, he told the Met Council assembly.

The city’s current lead-paint law, Local Law 1, was enacted in 1982, but
has never been enforced. City officials and landlord advocates contend that
the law, which presumes that any paint in a building built before 1960
contains lead and mandates removal of all lead paint in apartments with a
child under 7, would cost landlords far too much money—$15,000 to $18,000
an apartment, a figure disputed by tenant and lead-protection advocates—if
it were enforced. In 1985, NYCCELP sued the city to get them to enforce the
law. After the city failed to obey several court orders, NYCCELP and the
city agreed to stay the current order until June 1 so the Council could
pass legislation.

In this context, Intro 205 represents something of a compromise. Its basic
standard is that apartments should be “lead-safe” instead of “lead-free.”
It would set definite deadlines for the city Department of Housing
Preservation and Development to inspect apartments where children under 6
live and for landlords to correct lead-paint violations, and would extend
the city’s lead-paint regulations to cover day-care centers, schools and
playgrounds. However, the Council has never held a public hearing on it.
“Lead paint is an issue of code enforcement,” says Goldberg. “It has to be
dealt with at the source.”

If the Council pushes through a different bill, it is likely to include
elements of legislation proposed by the Rent Stabilization Association. The
landlord-lobbyist group, which claims that 92% of city buildings don’t have
lead paint, has pushed a measure that would give landlords a 30-day
“pre-violation notice” before they would be penalized for lead-paint
violations, would not require immediate treatment of children living in
affected apartments, and would not require lead paint to be removed by
federally certified contractors or in compliance with rules for safe
handling of lead dust.

The Giuliani administration would also like to eliminate a provision in the
current law that holds the city liable if it’s negligent in enforcing the
law, according to Goldberg.


Picket Peter Vallone 
Demand He Keep His Promise to Children 

Instead of supporting Intro 205, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention
Act, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone is planning to push a bill through
the Council that would weaken laws protecting children from lead poisoning.
Vallone's bill would allow cheap and unsafe lead paint removal practices,
and would legislate iron-clad protections for landlords from lawsuits when
children are poisoned. Vallone specifically promised to oppose weakening
the laws when he ran for Governor last year. 


1. Call Speaker Vallone at (212) 788-7210. 

Tell whoever answers the phone that you want a public hearing on Intro 205,
the good lead bill, and that you will hold Speaker Vallone accountable if
the Council passes a bad lead bill. (You can write to him at City Hall, New
York, NY 10007, or fax a letter to (212) 788-7207.) 

2. Call Your Councilmember 

Tell your Councilmember that you want a public hearing on Intro 205, and
that you want them to vote against any bill that protects children less. 

3. Picket Vallone’s District Office 
[call 693-0553 for latest information]

Tuesday, June 8 from 5-7 PM 
22-45 31st St. 
Astoria, NY 11105 
By subway: N train to end of line (Astoria/Ditmars Blvd.) 

Sponsored by Met Council on Housing at (212) 693-0553 and Queens League of
United Tenants (718) 261-8051, ext 6.



- Guts existing Department of Health (DoH) safety rules for 
  lead paint repairs (which were based on federal HUD and EPA 
  practices and documented methodologies.) 

- Allows uncorrected violations to remain indefinitely 

- Encourages quick and dirty work practices over safe ones 

- Ignores building problems that cause lead paint to peel 
  (water leaks, etc.) 

- Ignores lead dust from abrasion (painted windows opening and 
  closing, etc.) 

- Lead paint violations - the most dangerous - will now be the 
  most difficult to enforce! 

- Ignores common areas. 

- Landlords' investigation for the presence of young children is 
  modelled on the old window guard law - which failed! 

- Shifts the burden from Landlords to Tenants to keep apartments safe. 

- Allows HPD's enforcement to become discretionary. There are no 
  obligations, for example, that will require HPD to maintain or 
  increase its present, inadequate level of housing inspectors. 

- Limits lead hazards to only peeling lead paint - no duty on landlords 
  to prevent poisoning from lead dust or accessible surfaces. 

- No real requirements that landlords retain any records of their 
  inspections. No penalties for noncompliance. 

- Eliminates mandatory timeframes for corrections of lead paint 
  conditions by the City in homes of already lead poisoned children 
  where landlords fail to do so. 

- Essentially eliminates ability of lead poisoned children - over 90% 
  of which are Black, Hispanic, or other children of color - to sue 
  for injuries. 

- Rushed through in the dead of night with no opportunity for meaningful 
  public review, and violate's Vallone's campaign promise not to "weaken[] 
  the laws that protect children from the dangers of lead poisoning." 


- Requires landlords continue to ensure apartments are safe for 
  children to live in (as they are required to now under current law). 

- Requires landlords to inspect at least annually, and more often if 
  necessary, for all conditions that can cause lead exposure, and 
  requires landlords to give a written report of the results to tenant 
  and retain the report as well. 

- Gives tenants notice of their rights and obligations 

- Requires HPD to inquire for presence of children whenever an inspection 
  takes place, and if so, to look for peeling paint 

- Sets mandatory deadlines for HPD enforcement. 

- Also covers lead paint in common areas of buildings 

- Also addresses lead paint in schools, day care, and public playgrounds 

- Requires landlords to use safe work practices whenever lead paint or 
  paint of unknown content is disturbed. 

- Requires training of HPD and DoH inspectors equivalent to that required 
  by the federal EPA for lead inspectors. 

- Reviewed and endorsed by wide spectrum of public health, medical, tenant, 
  environmental, education, community, parent, religious, political, and 
  labor organizations and leaders and technical experts. 

Also see a side-by-side comparison of the two bills at:



It was reported on Thursday, June 3rd that Vallone would be trying to sneak
in his own horrible lead bill on Friday. It was planned to be called up for
a hearing by the Housing Committee (chaired by landlord lover Archie
Spigner), voted out at that time, and put before the entire Council on
Monday for a final vote. Obviously, no one would be able to have any
meaningful comment or review. But then, that's the whole point, correct?

But later on Thursday afternoon, word was received that Vallone agreed NOT
to hold a Friday hearing on his lead bill and had also agreed not to tie
this issue to the budget and to "member items." Vallone was reporedly
getting many constituent and press phone calls, faxes and other pressure.

But even with that, there is every indication that Vallone intends to
introduce a bill, perhaps as early as Monday, and push for a hearing and
passage very soon. Although a few city councilmembers are reportedly
standing firm for tenants, councilmember Stanley Michels (who is not known
for his backbone) has been left to negotiate against Vallone Pit Bull
(current Chief of Staff) Bruce Bender and Landlord Lobbyist Joe Strasburg
(Vallone's former Chief of Staff).

Stay tuned.

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Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 13:01:17 -0400
Subject: Vallone produces World Lead Tour

Tenants Online                                            6/8/99
In this issue...

* Latest Update on Peter Vallone's Lead-Paint bill.
* Picket Peter Vallone TODAY -- Demand He Keep His Promise to Children 


According to City Hall sources, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone is going
full-steam with his effort to introduce the Peter Vallone 1999 "Have some
Lead, You're Dead" Paint bill.

Although he appeared to back off a smidgen last Friday, the Peter Vallone
"Graphite-in-your-Baby's-Blood" Lead Bill of 1999 is set to be introduced
in council with a possible hearing as early as this Friday. The actual time
of any hearing or vote is unknown as City Council procedures allow for a
variety of scenarios, but the real point is that they want this a done deal
without public outcry.

On our website at, you can get the latest details of the
original bill (Intro 205) and the Peter Vallone "More Lead" alternative,
including copies of the actual text and comparisons between the two bills.

Demand He Keep His Promise to Children 

Instead of supporting Intro 205, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention
Act, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone is planning to push a bill through
the Council that would weaken laws protecting children from lead poisoning.
Vallone's bill would allow cheap and unsafe lead paint removal practices,
and would legislate iron-clad protections for landlords from lawsuits when
children are poisoned. Vallone specifically promised to oppose weakening
the laws when he ran for Governor last year. 

Picket Vallone’s District Office [call 693-0553 for latest information]

Tuesday, June 8 from 5-7 PM 
22-45 31st St. 
Astoria, NY 11105 
By subway: N train to end of line (Astoria/Ditmars Blvd.) 


Tell whoever answers the phone that you want a public hearing on Intro 205,
the good lead bill, and that you will hold Speaker Vallone accountable if
the Council passes a bad lead bill. (You can write to him at City Hall, New
York, NY 10007, or fax a letter to (212) 788-7207.) 


Tell your Councilmember that you want a public hearing on Intro 205, and
that you want them to vote against any bill that protects children less.
YYou can get your councilmember's name and telephone number at

CALL STANLEY MICHELS (the good bill's sponsor)
Councilmember Michels does come up with some good legislation, but if Peter
looks at him the wrong way, he often goes into hiding. Call Michels at
(212) 788-7700 or his district office at 212-928-1322 and tell him it's
time (for once) to stand up to Vallone. 

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) 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, 09 Jun 1999 11:12:04 -0400
Subject: Vallone gets agitated at demonstration

Tenants Online                                            6/9/99
In this issue...

* Update on Peter Vallone's Lead-Paint bill.
* Peter's Poison Pen: Village Voice 


Yesterday, tenants and advocates for an effective Lead-Paint bill
demonstrated in front of City Council Speaker Peter Vallone's district
office in Astoria Queens.

One of those who attended reports:

* Vallone knew it was coming, and the police were there with barricades

* At about 6:15, Vallone came out of his office.  He was very agitated.
 "Who put you up to this?" He asked. "One phone call and you come out?"

* People said "Its about YOUR lead bill!" Vallone replied -- get this -- 
  "There is no bill. I have no bill." I don't break my promises."

But Peter is once again lying as there's a quite public draft of
the Peter Vallone/Landlord Lead Bill that is being drafted by Vallone's 
own staff! You can access the text of the Peter Vallone Lead Bill
at Julie Lobbia of the Village Voice has written an
excellent piece on this issue -- it's included below.


Peter's Poisoned Pen 
Will Vallone Write a Sickening Lead-Paint Bill to Please Landlords? 
Village Voice, June 15, 1999 
Towers & Tenements, by j.a. lobbia 

Peter Vallone may boast that his City Council passed its budget on time,
but what the Speaker accomplished in efficiency could be totally trashed by
his last-minute maneuvering that threatens to literally poison children
citywide. In an effort to deliver a favor to the real estate industry,
Vallone is planning to tank a widely supported lead-paint bill in favor of
a landlord-friendly measure. 

Vallone has drafted a bill that gives landlords a dangerously generous
amount of time to remove lead paint, allows them in some cases to abandon
safety standards, and limits legal recourse for families whose children are
poisoned. "This is a disaster, worse than anything we'd ever imagined,"
says Andrew Goldberg, an attorney for the New York Public Interest Research
Group who has worked for years on lead-paint litigation. "It turns public
health on its head." 

Late last week, before Vallone and the mayor shook hands on a budget deal,
the Speaker appeared poised to pressure councilmembers into supporting his
lead-paint scheme by threatening to take away their "member items"— money
for projects in each council district that typically reward loyal
constituents or pay for popular programs. Fierce opposition by lead-paint
protection advocates, including some councilmembers, persuaded the Speaker
to hold off on linking lead paint with the budget, convincing him that such
an approach was too baldly political. Even so, Vallone staffers insist the
bill will have a hearing and a vote within a matter of days. At press time,
sources said the hearing was likely to be held Friday, June 11. A Vallone
spokesperson would comment only that "we are still in discussion and do not
have a bill yet." 

The Vallone-directed bill was drafted in opposition to a measure introduced
by Manhattan councilmember Stanley Michels, who called for aggressive
lead-paint "remediation" in apartment buildings, schools, public
playgrounds, and day care centers. Vallone's bill addresses only apartments
and allows landlords in some instances to ignore the city's Department of
Health standards in removing lead paint; in fact, Vallone's plan would
encourage substandard remediation. 

Under the draft bill, when a city inspector finds that a landlord has
peeling lead paint in an apartment occupied by a child under six years old,
the landlord has 21 days to "clean up." During that time, landlords need
not follow strict DOH guidelines, which spell out procedures for sealing
off lead-contaminated rooms, wet-scraping the affected area, thoroughly
cleaning up, and wipe-testing by laboratories to ensure that lead dust and
particles have indeed been removed. (Children become lead poisoned not only
by eating paint chips but also by breathing lead dust.) Landlords who fail
to do that have another 30 days to correct the situation, but by then, they
must follow DOH standards. 

"It's absurd," says Micheal McKee, associate director of the New York
Tenants & Neighbors Coalition. "This gives landlords an inducement to do a
quick-and-dirty job, on the threat that if they don't, they have to comply
with the health code." Unlike Michels's version, Vallone's draft bill
applies only to paint that is actually peeling; does nothing to address
problems that lead to peeling paint, like water damage; and prohibits
dangerous dry-scraping of paint but provides no sanctions for landlords who
use that method. 

The Vallone plan's central fault, opponents say, is a two-tiered system
that gives landlords their most coveted win: it forbids housing inspectors
from writing a formal notice of violation upon first discovering peeling
lead paint, allowing a violation only if the problem is not remedied.
Owners say such a provision is essential because such a notice could
profoundly increase their liability in civil cases brought on behalf of
lead-paint poisoned children. 

Opponents are outraged not only by the substance of Vallone's measure but
also by the process that created it: several of his staffers held a daylong
meeting last week with leaders and a lawyer from the Rent Stabilization
Association, which represents the city's largest landlords, to draft the
bill. Present were RSA president Joe Strasburg, who worked as Vallone's top
aide before going to the RSA in 1994 and who wrote the current lead-paint
law in 1982, and RSA government-affairs director Frank Ricci. Neither
returned calls for this story. The only advocate for stronger measures
Vallone allowed at the meeting was Michels, who has been tremendously
pressured to go along with the Vallone bill, and to signal his support to
other councilmembers. 

At press time Monday, Michels was reluctant to comment until a final
version is drafted. "We'll sit down and negotiate and, depending on what
the draft looks like and how terrible it is and what we can do about it,
we'll see. All I can say now is that our objective is to make sure that we
reduce substantially the number of kids that are lead poisoned, and that
has to be done by putting in a law that is doable." 

Michels's bill— introduced in 1997— has the support of 34 of the council's
51 members and was expected to pass easily, but Vallone never let it out of
committee. Instead, he straddled the issue for two years and in 1998 made
lead-paint protection— along with other tenant issues— central themes in
his gubernatorial campaign. Vallone's bid failed miserably, and now his eye
is on a mayoral race, an ambition that needs the backing of the city's real
estate industry. 

Eager to please the RSA and to appease the mayor's office, which wants
weaker lead-paint rules in part because many city-owned buildings are
affected, Vallone rushed his measure, citing a June 30 deadline on a
court-ordered settlement. Goldberg, however, points out that the plaintiffs
in that settlement offered to extend the deadline until October 15 to
accommodate debate. 

"They want to orchestrate a crisis, but it's not real," says Matthew
Chachère, staff attorney for the Northern Manhattan Improvement
Corporation, which represents plaintiffs in a long-standling class-action
suit regarding lead poisoning. "If they felt good about what they were
doing, they wouldn't do it this way." 

While politicians play with lead-paint laws, children continue to be
poisoned. At any given time, there are about 30,000 lead-poisoned children
under the age of seven citywide. Each year, between 1200 and 1500 more
become poisoned. Lead poisoning is entirely preventable but insidious if
not halted; symptoms are subtle, but effects are severe and long-lasting.
Lead-poisoned children can suffer central nervous system damage, learning
disabilities, and, in extreme cases, coma and even death. 

Most lead-paint poisoned children live in the city's "lead belt," with some
of the highest percentages found in Fort Greene, Bushwick, Jamaica, Mott
Haven, and Washington Heights. A 1996 health department chart shows that
more than 80 percent of poisoned children are black and Latino; only 6
percent white. "If this chart were reversed," says Goldberg, "we would have
settled this issue years ago." 

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) Discussion List: email to  
  and in the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant 
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Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 18:05:06 -0400
Subject: Medical Experts: it's the "Vallone Realtor Protection Bill"

Tenants Online                                           6/10/99
In this issue...

* Thursday Update on Peter Vallone's Lead-Paint bill.
* Letters from medical professionals on the Vallone bill 


The "Peter Vallone Lead Paint Bill of 1999" may possibly get a hearing at
City Council next Thursday, June 17th. As bad as the Vallone bill is, we
hear that Rudy's people want an even weaker bill, making city action
against recalcitrant landlords entirely discretionary and allowing the city
to have no liability whatsoever.

But opposition to the Vallone Bill remains strong. Even Councilmember
Stanley Michels (who normally would be running for the hills by now)
reportedly is standing firm with a good bit of back-bracing from some of
his colleagues. The Black and Latino Caucus, under Councilmembers Linares
and Marshall, are also very much opposed to the "Vallone/Landlord
Lead-Paint Bill."

There will be a Press Conference at City Hall on Monday, June 14th at 11:30
a.m. by tenant and public health advocates. Advocates still are trying to
get the Michels' Bill, Intro 205, released from committee where it's been
held back by Peter Vallone. Even with the current limitations of City Hall
press conferences, all are invited to come and show support.

Peter Vallone had been caught lying to demonstrators at his Astoria office
on Tuesday where he denied he had his own weaker bill, but everyone had
seen a copy of Vallone's bill. Vallone later reportedly went to Michels and
asked him to stop callng it the "Vallone Bill." Perhaps Vallone doesn't
want to take the blame when he runs for Mayor in 2001.

Medical experts are expressing their displeasure at the Vallone bill. Below
are letters from:

* Herbert L Needleman MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics

* Morri Markowitz, M.D. Director, Pediatric Environmental Sciences 
  Clinics, Montefiore Medical Center

* Paul Mushak, Ph.D., DABFM, Principal, PB Associates & 
  Visiting Professor, Pediatrics Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Doctor Markowitz refers to the Vallone Bill as a "Realtor Protection Bill."
When reading the letters, remember these medical professionals are opposed
to the VALLONE BILL -- not the good lead bill, Intro 205.

You too can write and fax Dr. Neal Cohen, Commissioner of the Department of
Health. His fax number is 
212-788-9232. (we hear that's a working fax). Of course, continue calling
Vallone at 212-788-7210 or fax 212-788-7207 telling him to pull his
Landlord bill and allow Intro 205 to have a hearing and vote, and also to
Stanley Michels at 212-788-7700 (or his district office at 212-928-1322)
and tell him to stand firm.

Commissioner Neal Cohen
125 Worth Street
New York NY 10013
June 10, 1999

Dear Commissioner Cohen:

I have reviewed the proposed changes to the lead abatement
regulations issuing from your office. I have been a researcher
into the effects of lead on children's brains for 25 years, and
have treated lead poisoning since 1957. I know this area and I am
certain that if the regulations are weakened, more children will
be endangered. Deleading housing is dangerous business; without
careful controls it directly increases the danger to the occupants
and the workers.

New York City has had regulations that were a model for many cities.
To weaken them in order to pacify real estate interests is to directly
put thousands of children at imminent risk. Your own department of
health reports that 13,000 children in 1997 had unsafe levels of lead
in their blood. If you relax the cleanup regulations, you can be sure
that the numbers will increase. Do not let this happen.


Herbert L Needleman MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics

cc Speaker Peter Vallone


June 7, 1999

Neil Cohen, M.D.
Commissioner of Health
NYC Dept. Health

Dear Dr. Cohen,

This is a summary of some of the points we discussed in our phone
conversation last week.

There were two main problems with the small portion of the lead paint
abatement bill that I've seen: its generic approach and its
specifics.  Generically, the Department of Health, where the
scientific expertise resides, should set the health and safety rules,
not the City Council (and certainly not if the bill is the product of
unopposed advice from the real estate industry). This bill, to the
contrary, describes in detail the safety steps to be taken in order
to be compliant with an abatement procedure. Furthermore, the
language in the preamble to these specifics (page 7 line 14 of my
copy) states "the owner shall perform only the following exclusive
interim controls". I'm not a lawyer but I read this as you can only
do the steps that are written after this statement.

Those actual steps themselves are inadequate to protect the family
during the abatement process. The current DOH regulations guiding
abatement are based on HUD and EPA tested methods. These are aimed
at not only removing lead from the painted surfaces but doing so
without spreading lead dust throughout the house. The current bill
demands that much more limited controls be used during the scraping
of lead painted surfaces. The method in the bill is likely to result
in dissemination of lead dust throughout the room, if not the entire
apartment. Why are health regulations being promulgated in an
administrative bill? I can understand if penalties for noncompliance
are spelled out here, not health code.

Since our phone call I've learned of other deficiencies in the bill,
some of them were addressed by your predecessor Dr. Hamburg, when a
similar bill was submitted 2-3 years ago. For instance, this bill
does not appear to have any enforcement mechanism, nor is there a
mandate for dust lead level determinations to define the success of
the intervention. The length of time allowed for removal of lead to
be accomplished is intolerably long.

This is a realtor protection bill. It vitiates DOH control. The
problem with the old bill is not the safety measures engineered into
it but lack of enforcement of all the provisions. It cost a lot.
The current bill shifts that "cost" back to the tenants, who will pay
with their health.

Thank you very much for taking my call and the time to read this.


Morri Markowitz, M.D.
Director, Pediatric Environmental Sciences Clinics
Montefiore Medical Center


June 10, 1999
By Telefax 

The Hon. Neal L. Cohen
Commissioner of Health
NYC Department of Health
125 Worth St.
NY, NY 10013

Re: Proposed Revisions a/o Revocations of NYC Lead Paint Laws 

Dear Commissioner Cohen:

I am writing to urge that the City's health apparatus NOT support proposed
changes in NYC laws and regulations regarding lead paint abatement of
hazardous residential units. Proposed changes will result in increased
childhood lead poisonings for reasons that are stated below.

I am currently director of an international toxicology and health risk
science practice, in Durham, NC, and am Visiting Professor of Pediatric
Environmental Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Bronx. In my
role as faculty at Einstein and during my many years involved with many
colleagues among NYC's major medical schools, I am intimately acquainted
with the lead paint problem in NYC and I don't write as an "outsider
meddling in others' business." I do write as a nationally and
internationally active toxicologist and health scientist in the area of
toxic metals, particularly lead. My research and
State/City/Federal/international advisory work has spanned over 32 years
and has provided me with extensive experience and expertise in the area of
lead paint poisoning of children. My expertise includes having been a
principal co-author or senior author of virtually all of the main expert
consensus public agency documents in the U.S. and includes peer review
advisory roles on those that were not directly co-authored by me. 

A number of the proposed changes --as I understand the nature of these
proposals-- is such that, in my informed opinion, they will strongly add to
real childhood lead poisoning risks among infants and toddlers in the
city's jurisdiction. In so doing, they will significantly increase the
adverse health toll on vulnerable children, individually and collectively.
Equally distressing, the added health and health delivery cost burdens on
the city's taxpayers with assuredly increased poisoning prevalences will be
considerable. The cost of an individual hospitalization and treatment
regimen is enormous relative to the much lower costs of retained effective
lead paint abatement and control. In my report to the U.S. Congress on
childhood lead poisoning in America, done for the U.S. CDC/ATSDR back in
1988, 11 years ago, I noted the enormous costs of multiple hospital
admissions for treatment of lead-poisoned kids. On p. IX-22 of my
Congressional report, for example, the cost in Baltimore for several
admissions in just a single year of just a single child in a year in 1986
dollars was about $16,000. In the intervening years, this cost figure has
sky-rocketed. To this direct medical-management cost, must be added
remedial education and justice system costs for brain-damaged children
committing crimes, and lost tax revenues to the city from lowered lifetime
taxable incomes, all cost econometrics that have been published in heavily
peer-reviewed journals. Again, both the quantifiable social costs and the
social resources costs of this planned roll-back of currently effective
lead paint poisoning argue compellingly such regressiveness would be tragic
while being totally avoidable. 

The proposals include elimination of the dust lead from paint as a factor.
This is scientific nonsense and it would be professionally irresponsible of
any health apparatus to do this. Extensive scientific documentation shows
conclusively that interior dusts, and exterior dusts, from chalking or
weathering lead painted surfaces are a major component of childhood lead
poisonings. Many infants and toddlers with no X-ray diagnostic evidence of
paint chips in their gut still have serious lead paint poisoning from
normal mouthing of lead-paint dusts. These paint dusts are especially small
in size and are documented to stick to hands of infants and toddlers, from
where they get swallowed. 

Abrasion surfaces are well known to produce high lead exposures for infants
and toddlers. Their natural curiosity or oral exploratory behavior places
them at window sills, where abrasion lead paint particles are most
pronounced and available to them for ingestion. The amounts of lead in
these abraded particles are enormous. For example, in the 1996 U.S. EPA
document on soil lead abatement demonstration projects, Table 4.2 shows
that window sill abrasion dusts are about 20,000 parts-per-million lead.
That's equal to two percent!! A child ingesting 100 milligrams daily of
this sill dust gets two milligrams of lead, a fatal dose. 

The revisionary argument, in my informed opinion, that only a lot of
peeling lead paint is really an issue for child lead poisoning is totally
wrong. The U.S. EPA, in June, 1998, issued some preliminary proposals (not
final) to do something like what has been proposed in NYC. That proposal
was so badly criticized by America's lead scientists that it is unlikely
this ruling will ever appear in anything resembling its original form. I
would certainly hope NYC is NOT placing any reliance on this EPA regulatory

I will be happy to provide further information or lend any expertise
pro-bono in this matter. Thank you. 


Paul Mushak, Ph.D., DABFM
Principal, PB Associates & 
Visiting Professor, Pediatrics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

cc: Hon. Peter Vallone

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Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 16:24:52 -0400
Subject: NY Times mis-uses medical expert to support Vallone Lead Bill

Tenants Online                                           6/11/99
In this issue...

* Latest update on the Vallone/Landlord Lead-Paint Bill

* Landlord Waterboy John Tierney of the NY Times creates a flap by using a
noted medical expert's statement out-of-context in his June 10th article
"Health Law That Exceeds the Need"

Rebuttal Letters to the Times hatchet piece

* Letter to the NY Times rebutting the Tierney article from Sergio Piomelli MD,
Director of Pediatric Hematology and Childhood Lead Poisoning Clinic

* Letter to the NY Times from Megan Charlop, Director Lead Poisoning
Prevention Project, Montefiore Medical Center

* Letter to the NY Times from Matthew J. Chachère, counsel to the New York
City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning


The latest we've heard is that Vallone is still trying to put his Landlord
Lead Bill up for a hearing next week. If that changes, we'll get the word out.

The Press Conference at City Hall on Monday, June 14th at 11:30 a.m. is
still scheduled to happen, so be sure to drop by. Even if the Rudy and
Peter Security Force won't let you onto the City Hall steps, the more
people clamoring on the outside will drive home the point.

Remember, when you call Vallone's office telling him to withdraw his Lead
Bill and to allow Intro 205 out for a hearing and vote, tell whoever
answers the phone that you are linking this directly to the 2001 Mayor's race.


New York Times, June 10, 1999
Health Law That Exceeds the Need 

Last July, shortly after Rubyat Islam, a 6-year-old girl, immigrated from
Bangladesh, a blood test showed she had an abnormally high level of lead.
In November, after studying the case, the city's Department of Health
ordered some changes at Rubyat's home, a one-bedroom apartment in
Sunnyside, Queens.

The landlady had to cover all the walls and ceilings with Sheetrock. She
replaced the windowsills, the radiator, the moldings and the front door.
The total cost came to $10,000, which have would been a small price to stop
a child from being poisoned by peeling lead paint.

But in this case the work probably did no good, and possibly even some
harm. Consider a few pertinent details:

Rubyat already had a high level of lead when she arrived from Bangladesh.
The July test was taken several weeks before her family moved into the

The walls and ceiling had been scraped and covered with a fresh layer of
unleaded paint just before Rubyat's family leased the apartment in August.

There was little, if any, lead even in the old layers of paint safely
buried beneath the surface. The city's extensive tests throughout the
apartment found lead in only a few patches of paint, and in such small
traces that the readings could easily have been due to measurement error.
An independent testing company hired by the landlady found no significant
amounts of lead.

Even if there was lead below the surface, it would probably have been safer
to leave the lead undisturbed. The hammering and other work during the
renovation could have released lead dust into the air.

What happened in Sunnyside was part of a curious trend that began in the
1970's, when lead was removed from gasoline. It was a great triumph of the
environmental movement, leading to a steep decline in the incidence of lead
poisoning. But while the problem has been shrinking, the solutions have
been multiplying as more and more regulations are imposed.

"There's a lot of exaggeration today by people who want lead poisoning to
appear to be a terrible problem," said Dr. Sergio Piomelli, a professor of
pediatrics at Columbia University, who was one of the pioneers in combating
lead poisoning. His research during the 1970's found elevated levels of
lead in one-tenth of the children in New York City.

"Today there are just a few hundred cases in the whole city, mainly in
certain areas with dilapidated housing," Dr. Piomelli said. "We should be
concentrating resources on them instead of trying to frighten everyone
else. But lead poisoning has become a profession for some people."

Lead-poisoning suits against landlords (especially New York's richest
landlord, the city government) have become a booming industry for lawyers,
who have joined with advocacy groups in pushing for stricter standards on
lead. Because of a lawsuit won last year by the New York City Coalition to
End Lead Poisoning, the city has been forced to reinterpret its 1982 law on
lead poisoning. As a result, paint is now classified as lead-based even
when the traces of lead are too small to be measured reliably.

The court ruling also requires all lead paint to be removed or encapsulated
with plaster wallboard if the apartment is occupied by a young child. This
new policy has been denounced by both the Department of Health -- which
called it "unnecessary, costly and potentially dangerous" -- and by the
sponsor of the original law, Councilman Stanley E. Michels.

"It was never our intention in 1982 to force landlords to remove all lead
paint from all apartments," Michels said. "With these new regulations we
could harm children by releasing a lot of lead dust." He and other Council
members are planning to hold a hearing soon, possibly next week, to
consider a more moderate law.

In the meantime, the lead-abatement crusade is complicating life for
landlords and, ultimately, for tenants with children -- particularly
children from overseas. What landlord wants to risk renting to them?

"I've learned my lesson," said Rubyat's landlady, Rochelle Gutman. "The
$10,000 I spent on that one apartment wiped out the whole building's bottom
line for the year. From now on, I may start screening tenants by demanding
blood tests of the children. I've also been advised not to rent to families
from countries with high levels of lead in the air. It's sad, but the city
is pushing us against the wall."



To the editor: 

Re: "Health Law That Exceeds The Need" (The Metro Section June 10).

Mr. Tierney noted:  "when lead was removed from gasoline, it was a great
triumph of the environmental movement, leading to a steep decline in the
incidence of lead poisoning".  This triumph was achieved through mine and
other's testimony.

A statement by me was also quoted: "there are people who want lead
poisoning to (still) appear a terrible problem".  Unfortunately there are
also people that have interest in minimizing the residual childhood lead
poisoning problem.

Childhood lead poisoning still persists in a significant segment of
American children living in dwellings built before 1960, where lead paint
was used. As these deteriorate, lead-containing dust is ingested by
children, through breathing and finger-sucking. The resulting damage is
irreversible: treatment only prevents worsening.

A solution requires balancing the need to protect children with a realistic
approach.  Nobody advocates anymore the need for removing the last speck of
lead, as one could be lead to believe from Mr. Tierney's piece.  Careful
cleaning should, however, safely remove the hazard, without worsening the
situation by mobilizing lead.

A bill that balances these needs, introduced by Councilman Michels and
cosigned by 34 Council members (Intro 205), has been sitting in the City
Council for years.  Instead, a new bill is being now pushed by Council
President Vallone.  The latter, among other things, waters down the
requirements for a responsible repairing of the dwelling, if "deleading" is
done quickly (<21 days), even if dangerous procedures are used.  This bill
has been condemned as dangerous to the health of children by many experts
in childhood poisoning, with whom I concur.

It appears peculiar that while this is happening and reported in the press,
nothing is mentioned in Mr. Tierney's article.  Attention is diverted from
the problem of our own children, reporting the unique case of a Bangladesh
immigrant.  (By the way, there is no more lead in Bangladesh's air than in
the USA.  There lead poisoning results from using lead-containing pigment
to decorate the eyelids of children).

Sergio Piomelli, MD
J. A. Wolff Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University College
of Physicians and Surgeons, NY
Director of Pediatric Hematology and Childhood Lead  Poisoning Clinic
Former Member of The Center for Diseases Control Panel on Childhood Lead
and of The President Council on Environmental Quality Lead Poisoning Panel


Director Lead Poisoning Prevention Project

New York Times
VIA FAX   -  212-556-3622
To the Editor:

John Tierney mixed apples and oranges in his article, "Health Law that
Exceeds the Need," dated June 10, 1999. The question of appropriate
intervention for children with elevated blood levels is very different from
the question of how to prevent children from becoming lead poisoned in
buildings with lead-based paint.

In the former case, the Department of Health must investigate lead sources
and require their elimination on a case by case basis. In the latter,
owners, not tenants,  must be obligated to maintain properties free from
lead hazards and Housing Preservation and Development must enforce
compliance to that standard in a timely and safe manner.

With more than 30,000 New York City children already burdened with
unacceptably high lead levels and the oldest housing stock in the nation,
it is critical that there be no confusion on this matter. Only sound,
lead-safe housing and safe work practices can reduce lead-poisoning suits
against landlords by keeping our New York City children free from the
dangers of lead.

Megan Charlop
Director Lead Poisoning Prevention Project
Montefiore Medical Center
111 East 210th Street
Bronx, New York 10467


Legal Services Department
76 Wadsworth Avenue
New York, NY 10033-7000

June 10, 1999

New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

John Tierney's Column ("Health Law That Exceeds the Need," Times, June 10,
1999) misstates the status and impact of litigation concerning New York
City's laws on lead paint poisoning prevention.  The lawsuit he refers to,
New York Coalition to End Lead Poisoning v. Giuliani, is a class action
started in 1985 concerning the City's failure to adequately and timely
enforce the lead paint laws.  The case was not "won last year," but rather,
is ongoing, and has resulted in series of orders, starting in 1989,
directing the City to enforce these laws.  The City has been held in
contempt of court four times thus far for ignoring these orders.

Among these orders has been the requirement that the City promulgate
regulations for the timely enforcement and removal of lead violations.  As
the City Comptroller found several years ago, while the City had at that
time some 66,000 lead paint violations in its database, some 43% of these
immediately hazardous violations still existed an average of one year after
identification by HPD inspectors.  The City was also ordered to issue
regulations governing the safety measures to be followed during the removal
of lead hazards, which it did in 1993 (but only after being found in
contempt of court for not doing so).

While Mr. Tierney focusses on the issue of full abatement, he overlooks an
excellent proposed bill, Intro 205 (sponsored by Councilmember Stanley
Michels and 2/3 of the City Council and endorsed by virtually every public
health expert and leader in the field) which, while removing the
requirement of full abatement, considerably tightens up the City's lax
enforcement deadlines and maintains the existing safety regulations.
Unfortunately, Council Speaker Peter Vallone has refused for over 2 years
to call a public hearing on Intro 205.  Instead, the Speaker's staff has of
late been hurriedly drafting a bill which would greatly scale back the
protections for children, including the safety regulations (despite a
campaign pledge last year to "Oppose[] weakening of laws that protect
children from the dangers of lead poisoning.")

Mr. Tierney ignores the larger tragedy of childhood lead poisoning, a
lifelong, permanent, irreparable injury which the New York Court of Appeals
recently declared "may be the most significant environmental disease in New
York City." According to the City's statistics, approximately 30,000
children each year are considered to be lead poisoned, of which least 90%
are Black, Hispanic, or other children of color.

If 30,000 children annually were struck in drive-by shootings, by speeding
drivers, or by billyclubs, there would surely be a massive outcry.  But
while it is often said that lead is a "silent poisoning," it is no less
repugnant to create this utterly preventable tragedy by inaction.  Kids
have a tough enough time growing up in this city and getting an education
in our schools.  How can we tolerate their infliction with the additional
impediments of reduced IQ, attention deficits, hyperactivity, learning
disabilities, and the other panoply of lead poisoning injuries?


Matthew J. Chachère

Note: The writer is counsel to the New York City Coalition to End Lead
Poisoning in its class action suit.

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) 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, 12 Jun 1999 10:27:35 -0400
Subject: Tenants Online 6/12/99

Tenants Online                                           6/12/99
In this issue...

* RGB update
* Conflict of interest for Vallone
* On the Folly of Endorsing Vallone

* Licensed Lead Inspector calls NYT/Tierney Article Phony Balogna
* Letter from United Auto Workers
* Letter from Dr. Bailus Walker, Chair of the Board of
  the Alliance To End Childhood Lead Poisoning


Yes, this is still TenantNet and not LeadNet, and tenants should remember
that the Rent Guidelines Board final hearing is coming up on June 22 with a
final vote on June 24th. This year the RGB research reports indicate that
landlord profits are in the stratosphere (as if we didn't know) and their
expenses are flat. You can access the complete RGB research reports and
schedule on

The Citywide Tenants' Coalition will hold a press conference on June 22 at
1:30 p.m. in front of Cooper Union at the Rent Guideline Board hearing and a
demonstration that day at 5:30 p.m. 


Last year when City Council Speaker Peter Vallone ran for Governor, he had
two offices -- his "official" campaign office in Long Island City -- and
his fundraising operation in lower Manhattan, located at 123 William
Street, 14th Floor. What's interesting about this location is that it is
the same street address and floor as the offices of the Rent Stabilization
Political Action Committee (RSA-PAC) and Neighborhood Preservation PAC
(NP-PAC). Both PAC's are run by the RSA and by Joseph Strasburg, Vallone's
former Chief of Staff. Strasburg and his staff reportedly are dictating the
text of Vallone's weak lead paint bill.

Vallone is now claiming that his fundraising office was never in the same
place as the RSA-PAC and the NP-PAC (it's now on the 22nd floor). But one
of the advocates in the lead-paint issue called up the RSA yesterday and it
was confirmed that indeed Vallone used the RSA facilities to raise money
for his gubernatorial bid.

This of course raises conflict-of-interest issues given what is now
happening, potential illegalities and potential violations of the campaign
finance law.


We've concentrated on the Lead issue this week because NYC is a city of
renters and many children of tenants are at risk. It's even more important
because as a renter, you often are not in control of your own environment.

Those who endorsed Vallone in last year's gubernatorial race are now
reaping what they sowed -- a powerful politician without morals and deep in
the pockets of the real estate industry. Vallone sought out Michael McKee
of Tenants and Neighbors Coalition (NYSTNC) for an endorsement because
McKee often claims to represent NYC tenants. Well he doesn't, and many
tenant activists see him as a fool and a sell-out, as he did in the 1997
Rent Wars with Sheldon Silver. 

Many Democratic politicians prop McKee up as the tenants' representative
because it satisfies McKee's need for publicity and because they'll have an
easy time voting for anti-tenant measures when people like Vallone
strong-arm them (no matter what they say in public) and it allows them to
deflect the blame to the Republicans. Democrat politicians do this time and
time again because they want tenants to think they're working for you and
that there still is an effective tenant protection system in place.

Of course having this "arrangement" -- without a diverse and young
developing leadership in the tenant movement -- results in stagnation, and
continuing losses.
Some might want it that way.

Having said all that, those who endorsed Vallone did secure his "tenant
platform" (available at where he promised an effective
lead-paint bill. As we're seeing, promises mean nothing to hacks like
Vallone, especially when the money was rolling into his RSA-provided boiler
room. So to insure an effective lead-paint bill (and to save face for
McKee), keep those faxes and calls going to Vallone's office. And keep
calling as many City Council members' offices as possible. If Vallone
strong-arms his measure through, every City Council member will be under
extreme pressure to vote for it. When you hear them saying "this is the
best we could do...," you'll know tenants and children will have lost.



One of our users -- who is also a licensed lead inspector -- responds to
the Tierney article from the New York Times, June 10th "Health Law that
Exceeds the Need" He states:

There's something phony about the information in this NYT article. DOH only
requires abatement where lead is found at or above the level set by s.173.14
of the Health Code.  If as stated

"There was little, if any, lead even in the old layers of paint
safelyburied beneath the surface. The city's extensive tests throughout the
apartment found lead in only a few patches of paint, and in such small
traces that the readings could easily have been due to measurement error.
An independent testing company hired by the landlady found no significant
amounts of lead."

...then only the areas at or above 0.7 u/g would be cited for abatement.

There is a mechanism to contest DOH findings, and indeed, before DOH got the
newer MAP 4 XRFs, landlords would have been smart to contest every finding.
Now, DOH is more accurate.  So why was such extensive abatement needed.  It
just doesn't ring true.

Either the apt was loaded with lead, or some contractor sold this owner a
bill of goods. There's no requirement to abate areas below the action

I've dealt with these many times.  And I've never seen an owner do more than
absolutely required. So somebody is full of bologna in this story.

Further, assuming there was lead to abate the writer's contention that "Even
if there was lead below the surface, it would probably have been safer
to leave the lead undisturbed. The hammering and other work during the
renovation could have released lead dust into the air." is written from
sheer ignorance.

Though NY presently has no license requirement for lead abatement
contractors, at least the Health Code 173.14 mandates a protocol for safe
work practices.  If the state had the same standards as our sister states,
at least consumers would know that a contractor has training, certification
and experience in the field; exactly so as not to make more of a mess than
already exists.

You can't believe how many jobs I've seen where owners who hired cheap off
the street contractors created a far worse situation than before.




June 10, 1999

The Honorable Peter Vallone
New York City Council
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Speaker Vallone:

It has come to my attention that you are about to introduce a bill that
would greatly weaken the obligation of landlords to inspect for and reduce
lead paint hazards in New York City.

As you know, New York City has one of the highest incidence rates of lead
paint poisoning in children in the entire country. Due to the age of the
housing stock, many buildings contain lead paint hazards. When poisoned by
lead paint, young children often suffer developmental problems and
disabilities which can affect them for their entire life.

May I remind you that, in your race for Governor last year and as the
Working Families Party endorsed candidate, you made many pledges to tenant
activists including not weakening laws regarding lead poisoning
enforcement. However, as I stated before, the current bill you are expected
to introduce would weaken the existing laws and would undercut an excellent
piece of legislation Councilmember Stanley Michels is sponsoring, Intro. 205.

The UAW and its many members in New York City urge you to support Intro.
205 and remain true to your promise of protecting children from the dangers
of lead poisoning. Should you have any questions regarding this matter,
please do not hesitate to contact my office at (860) 674-0143. Thank you
for your anticipated support regarding this important matter.

John Laperle
Political/CAP Director


Below is a letter written by Dr. Bailus Walker, Chair of the Board of
the Alliance To End Childhood Lead Poisoning

June 11, 1999

The Honorable Peter Vallone
Speaker, New York City Council
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Speaker Vallone:

I write as a former president of the American Public Health Association and
a public health practitioner trained in epidemiology and toxicology to call
to your attention a matter of urgent importance to the health and
intelligence of young children in New York City. I have learned that the
New York City Council is considering legislation amending the local law on
childhood lead poisoning prevention along the lines of the June 7 "staff
draft." I request the opportunity to testify at the City Council's upcoming
hearing on this important legislation, and I request in any event that
these comments be included in the hearing record.

I am a Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Howard
University Medical Center and Chairman of the Committee on Toxicology of
the National Academy of Sciences. In the interest of full disclosure, I
should also note that I serve as chair of the board of directors of the
Alliance To End Childhood Lead Poisoning. The purpose of this letter,
though, is to register my personal conviction that changes to New York
City's lead poisoning law must be based on scientific knowledge and must
protect children's health. By ignoring the dangers of lead-contaminated
dust, the Council's draft bill fails both these tests.

There is ample proof that sound health policy must be based on the best
available scientific evidence.  This is especially true in the field of
pediatric environmental health.  Public health policies that disregard
science and knowledge will not stand the test of time.

It is therefore useful to recap what we have learned from scientific
investigation about the significance of children's exposure to
lead-contaminated dust to disease and dysfunction caused by lead. The
science emphatically tells us that lead-contaminated dust is the foremost
pathway of poisoning and the best predictor of children's risk.  While
repairing peeling paint (itself a major source of toxic lead dust) is
vitally important, studies confirm that preparation work for paint repair
frequently generates exceedingly high levels of lead dust.  Both research
and real-world experience shows that such projects - even when performed
with care by highly trained professionals - often leave dust hazards
behind.  Because lead dust can be invisible to the naked eye, clearance
tests are essential to confirm that the work has been done safely. While
wet sanding and wet scraping are beneficial in reducing worker exposures,
these methods have no effect on the amount of lead dust generated and are
certainly no substitute for clearance testing.

The June 7 draft bill raises many concerns in my mind.  Once a final bill
is introduced I would hope to have the opportunity to review it carefully
and submit comprehensive comments.  In this letter I want to focus on the
bill's glaring failure to acknowledge or address the dangers of
lead-contaminated dust. In my opinion, a bill that fails to attend
responsibly to lead dust hazards cannot rightly be called a lead poisoning
prevention legislation.  As a starting point and at a bare minimum, your
bill should be strengthened as follows:

- Lead dust must be included in the definition of "lead-based paint standards;"

- Workers doing paint repair in any pre-1960 building in New York City need
basic training in lead safety such as one-half day training at a minimum; and

- Clearance dust tests must be routinely required after projects that
repair peeling paint.

Scientific knowledge and real-world experience demand these safeguards. Our
children's health requires these safeguards.

While coverage of the controversy over New York City's lead poisoning law
has focused on landlord-tenant issues, I want to offer a reminder that the
purpose of this legislation is to protect preschool children from lead

Overwhelmingly, in New York and across the nation, the children at highest
risk for lead poisoning are poor.  Overwhelmingly, in New York and across
the nation, the children at highest risk for lead poisoning are Black and
Hispanic.  We have an obligation to protect all our children because lead
poisoning reduces their intelligence and attention span, interferes with
their neurological development and behavior, and hurts their performance in
school and success in later life.

Across the country, recognition is growing of the importance of decent
housing to children's health as well as their success in school.  I want to
emphasize that the New York City Council's upcoming vote on the lead
poisoning law will have an impact far beyond the five boroughs.  The nation
looks to New York City to apply scientific knowledge and the lessons
learned from experience to produce an enlightened lead law that ensures
that children are protected from peeling paint and lead dust hazards by
cost-effective strategies that are implemented and enforced.

Thank you for your consideration of these comments.


Bailus Walker, Jr. PhD, MPH
Professor, Environmental and Occupational Medicine

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) 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, 15 Jun 1999 01:28:40 -0400
Subject: Tenants Online 6/15/99

Tenants Online                                            6/15/99

* Bid to Alter Lead Paint Law Splits Speaker and Council (NYT)
* Lead Astray (City Limits, 6/14)
* RSA Reporter "Top Ten Worst Tenants" (landlord drek)
* Vasos on Rent Control (a right-winger's view)


New York Times, June 15, 1999
Bid to Alter Lead Paint Law Splits Speaker and Council 

The Speaker of the City Council, Peter F. Vallone, and some members of the
Council's rank and file are at increasing odds over a bill that would
clarify and strengthen the city's law to protect children from poisoning
caused by lead paint. 

The rift widened Monday when a half-dozen Council members and other elected
officials gathered in the rotunda of City Hall to denounce Vallone's
efforts to draft a compromise bill taking into account the interests of
landlords and the Giuliani administration. 

New York City is under a judge's order to either rewrite the lead law or
enforce the existing statute, which was broadly interpreted by a state
court in 1989 as requiring landlords to remove all lead paint from any
apartment built before 1960 where children now live and peeling paint is

Since lead paint was banned nationwide in 1978, lead poisoning has become
one of the most sensitive child health issues. But despite the ban, strict
regulations and public awareness campaigns, thousands of children are
poisoned by lead each year, often by eating paint chips or simply breathing
the air in their own bedrooms. 

The issue is still more intense in New York City, where even less crucial
landlord-tenant concerns, such as rent control, seem to take on
life-or-death significance. The city spends millions of dollars a year to
remove lead from city-owned buildings and to inspect others, and private
landlords face similarly high abatement costs. Advocates say as many as
30,000 city children suffer lead poisoning, the vast majority of them in
poor and minority communities. 

The main disagreements over how to rewrite the existing law include how
strict safety regulations should be when landlords are required to remove
lead; how much time landlords should be given to correct violations and
whether the law will presume that buildings built before 1960 contain lead

There is now general agreement that enforcing the broad interpretation of
the law would actually pose greater health risks to children. Experts have
concluded that lead dust caused by removing paint is more dangerous than
paint left undisturbed, as long as it does not begin to deteriorate. 

The original lead law was enacted in 1982. After more than 15 years of
court battles and of wrangling among city officials, Vallone's aides had
hoped to hold a hearing Monday on a so-called consensus measure, which
focuses on safely containing lead rather than removing it, and gives
tenants more responsibility for reporting possible contamination. 

But landlord groups and advocates for children and the environment remain
at fierce odds over how the laws should be changed. Despite continual
negotiations directed by Bruce Bender, Vallone's chief of staff, agreement
on some of the bill's central provisions has remained elusive. 

The presumption that all buildings built before 1960 contain lead paint is
a key component of the existing law and places the responsibility for lead
abatement squarely upon landlords. Landlord groups and the Giuliani
administration would prefer removing that presumption from the law, making
tenants responsible for reporting suspicions of lead contamination. 

Landlords forced to remove lead must pay approximately $15,000 to $20,000
per apartment in abatement costs, said Frank Ricci, the director of
governmental affairs for the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group. 

The debate over the new law is complicated by the city's dual interests in
the issue, both as the largest landlord required to comply with the law and
as the regulatory authority responsible for enforcing the law through the
Health Department and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. 

Late last week, the Speaker's aides said the bill was not ready, and they
postponed the hearing to Thursday. Seizing on the delay, a half-dozen
Council members held a protest in the rotunda of City Hall that included a
coalition of advocates and parents of lead-poisoned children. 

They were joined by the Public Advocate, Mark Green; the Comptroller, Alan
Hevesi; and the Manhattan Borough President, C. Virginia Fields, and they
called for a reconsideration of a version of the lead law sponsored by
Councilman Stanley E. Michels of Manhattan. 

More than 30 of the Council's 51 members signed on as co-sponsors of the
Michels bill. But critics of the bill said that it would place onerous
obligations on landlords and would require the city to conduct more
inspections than it could reasonably handle. 

Vallone, in an interview Monday afternoon, said that the Michels bill was a
central part of the negotiations for a compromise measure and he sought to
play down the disagreement among Council members. "There's a good deal of
misunderstanding obviously," Vallone said. 

"I will do nothing, nor will this Council do anything, to make things worse
for kids," he said, adding that be believed the bill ultimately would be a
"compilation of whatever is best for our city and our kids." 

The disagreement within the Council escalated two weeks ago when the
Speaker's office considered linking the lead bill to the City's new budget,
which would have forced members to approve it or risk delaying budget items
they supported. 

The dispute raises the rare possibility that the Council members might find
cause to defy the Speaker. Asked at Monday's protest whether the members
would do that, Michels said: 

"I believe in an issue involving minority children of 5 years or under,
where they are going to be terribly damaged, they will stand up for those
minority children. If they don't, they have only their consciences to
answer to." 

Vallone said that his staff was working closely with members of the
Giuliani administration in hopes that the Mayor would eventually sign the
bill. He said the most current version is based on legislation originally
written by the administration. 

Joseph J. Lhota, the Deputy Mayor for operations, released a statement
Monday praising the consensus measure. "The draft proposal currently
circulating in the City Council on lead paint is a well thought out,
scientific and incentive-based approach for dealing with lead paint hazards
in older buildings in the city," he said. 

After Monday's protest, Vallone's aides said that the hearing scheduled for
Thursday was likely to be postponed again. Members of the Speaker's staff
said last night that they were in the process of reworking the latest
version of the bill. 


An update from New York's Urban Affairs News Magazine 
Week of June 14, 1999, Number 181


It was a week of drafts, re-drafts and secretive back door meetings, and
still the City Council couldn't get its new lead paint bill out. The bill,
first slated to be unveiled on June 4, has been sliding all around the
calendar, with its most recent coming-out date pinned for this Thursday. 

But don't hold your breath. 

Since April, advocates, council and entourage have been buzzing about the
new bill that Council Speaker Peter Vallone's office was drafting in a
last-minute attempt to comply with a court order to either write a new lead
paint law or enforce the stringent one on the books. 

Yet all the advocates--and some council members, too--could only stand by
helplessly last week as Vallone staffers, members of the landlord coalition
Rent Stabilization Association, the landlord lobby, and the Giuliani
administration hashed out the details. The result has been a dizzying
number of bill drafts, the third of which was circulating on Friday. 

"The bill has gone through re-drafts so many times that's it's impossible
for anyone, except the people drafting it, to say what the content is,"
said Jenny Laurie, executive director of Metropolitan Council on Housing. 

But both council members and advocates believe, from the details they have
seen, that the bill will do too little to protect children at risk of lead
paint poisoning, and too much to protect landlords. After the black and
Latino caucus blocked the June 4 public hearing, Vallone's office asked
advocates to submit a list of negotiating points. By the following Monday
the list was AWOL. "They said they couldn't find the sheet we had given
them," said Cathleen Breen, legislative advocate for the New York Public
Interest Research Group. 

Since then, advocates, caucus co-chair Guillermo Lineras and other
councilmembers have been left in the dark. "The way we get information is
to ask [others] what's going on," said Albania Almanzar, acting chief of
staff to Lineras. "They are including other people--I just don't know who
they are." 

Frank Ricci, director of government affairs for the RSA, refused to
characterize the process as clandestine--as he pointed out, all the players
know the score. "I don't get the feeling that it's secretive," he said.
"What we think is appropriate and what they think is appropriate hasn't
changed in five years." 

For shut-out advocates, the only hope is that other council members will
decide to vote the bill down. "My council members are pretty much aroused,
but I don't just want them to vote against it. I want them to change the
law," said Councilmember Stanley Michels, whose own compromise lead bill
has been stalled in council for two years. "If they introduce that bill on
Thursday, I'm going to be very annoyed."  

--Kemba Johnson


Rent Stabilization Association (Landlord Trade Organization)
RSA Reporter
February 1999


Each year, the Village Voice lists the city's 10 worst landlords, and the
already dark stigma attached to owning rental property grows a little
darker. Now, the New York Times is running an occassional series to find
the "10 Worst Tenants" in the city.

The first candidate for the designation of worst tenant sublet an apartment
supposedly for the summer and refused to move out when the original tenant,
a 73 year-old woman, returned. She ended up living with the owner of the
building. Four years and over $100,000 in legal bills later, the elderly
woman is finally returning to her apartment and her furnishings. The
subtenant, meanwhile, says she is the one who deserves the sympathy.

RSA wants to compile our own "Top Ten" worst tenants list. Run-of-the-mill
tenants who don't pay rent on time or who refuse to recycle don't qualify.
We're looking for the best examples of outrageous behavior on the part of a
tenant, or examples of the worst abuse of the rent regulation system.

If you have tenants who live in Florida, for instance, but hold on to their
rent stabilized apartment for occasional use; a single, elderly tenant
living in a huge rent controlled apartment who can't find a smaller place
in the neighborhood at the low rate currently paid; or a "tenant from hell"
who disrupts an entire building, we'd like to know.

If you are willing to talk to the media, drop us a note outlining your
candidate for the ten worst tenants, Mail it to Frank Ricci c/o R5A/123
William St., 14th Flr./NY, NY 10038; fax it to (212) 732-0617; or call
Frank Ricci at (212) 214-9266.

Tenants vastly outnumber property owners -- let's let people know they can
also be far worse in their behavior.


Subject: Rent Control
From: (Vasos Panagiotopoulos
+1-917-287-8087 Bioengineer-Financier)
Date: Thu, 29 April 1999 01:55 PM EDT

Re: rent control. Here I was sitting with a left-of-center colleague at the
NY Fed talking about how some of our superiors were living in cushy
apartments at minimal rents (oh, about a dozen years ago) and we both
agreed rent control was a bad idea. Even Jack Kemp prefered rent subsidies
(vouchers) to rent control. And Bill Tucker and others have shown that
cities with rent control have a significantly bigger homelessness problem
than cities without rent control.

But, really, y'know what I see as a much more hidden danger from rent
control: all these failures who came to the city with no intention of
belonging, only using, and when their careers failed, they felt too
important to move back where they came from, and now they sit at jobs (that
maybe pay them no salary because they are all commission) that allow them
to continue the pretense of being employed (80% of anyone over forty who
claims to work in finance and live in Madhatpan fits this description if
you dig deep enough) and they agitate these silly leftist causes because
they don't even have much of a consciousness left.

NYC "liberals" don't realise how REACTIONARY they really are. When rent
control was common during the Depression, NYC didn't have it, but only got
it after WW2, when everyone else was getting rid of it.

Vasos-Peter John Panagiotopoulos II, Columbia'81+, Bioengineer-Financier, NYC
BachMozart ReaganQuayle EvrytanoKastorian http://WWW.Dorsai.Org/~vjp2

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) 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, 16 Jun 1999 17:16:27 -0400
Subject: Tenants Online 6/16/99

Tenants Online                                            6/16/99


Sources indicate the Peter Vallone Lead-Paint Bill may get a hearing on
Monday or Tuesday of next week. Of course that's likely to be the same time
that the Rent Guidelines Board will be having its hearing. No one ever
accused Vallone and his landlord cohorts of being stupid... just evil. 

Vallone is still claiming there is no "Vallone Lead Bill" although it seems
every hot-dog vendor in Manhattan has a copy of it (you can get your
personal copy by going to Vallone is still maintaining
his fundraising operation never used the Landlord RSA offices, which would
be a huge conflict of interests as the lead bill directly benefits
landlords). Despite the publicity, Vallone and the landlords are tenacious
in advancing their deathly lead-paint bill -- it's a moving target,
changing almost every day. Stay tuned. 


The tenant view:
*  Rudy's Landlord Giveaway (Voice)

Landlord view (they pay people to come up with this drek):
*  RGB examines data for rent increases (Real Estate Weekly)


Rudy's Landlord Giveaway 
Fat City About to Get Fatter for Owners
Village Voice, June 16-22, by J.A. Lobbia

How would you like to hand over several million dollars more to the city's
landlords starting this fall? Like it or not, that's what's on order for
New York's 2.4 million rent-stabilized tenants, as the Rent Guidelines
Board heads into the final stretch of its 1999 season. When it casts its
final vote next week, the RGB is expected to follow its preliminary
guidelines, which call for tenants to pay 2 percent hikes for one-year
lease renewals and 4 percent for two-year leases, beginning October 1. 

This major transfer of cash from tenants to landlords will take place
despite the fact that landlords are doing just fine, thank you, according
to several studies conducted by the RGB's own staff. On average, staff
reports found, landlords' net income rose 11.4 percent from 1996 to 1997,
and net income per apartment is the highest it has been in a decade. Those
gains, coupled with all-time-low mortgage rates and operating costs that
went up a piddling .03 percent, make these healthy times indeed for owners
of rent-regulated property. In fact, the staff calculated that landlords
could keep their income steady even if the board allowed no rent hike for
one-year leases and only a 1.8 percent hike for two-year leases. 

But in a preliminary vote on May 13— to be made final June 24— the RGB
squashed a proposal to allow no increase for one-year leases and a 1
percent hike for two-year leases. (It also ditched a landlord plan for 4
percent hikes for one-year leases and 8 percent for two years.) In the end,
it settled on the 2 and 4 percent hikes, which are technically subject to
change before the board's final vote next week, but which are expected by
landlords and tenants alike to be finally adopted. The hike mirrors the
rates the board has set for four of the past five years. 

But with landlords doing well and staff studies finding many tenants
hampered by unemployment, wage stagnation, and welfare cuts, why didn't the
board set rent hikes accordingly? Look no further than Mayor Rudy
Giuliani's political ambitions, sources say. "The fact is Rudy Giuliani is
not so dependent on city tenant votes if he runs for higher office," says
Terry Poe, an organizer at the West Side Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) Law
Project and longtime observer of the RGB. "I think he may have done a
calculation that the money he'll get from landlords is more important than
votes from tenants." 

Indeed, board members say Giuliani's administration has consistently sent
orders about what rates should be set; in fact, in 1995, he bumped RGB
member Jane Stanicki from the board after she publicly complained about
City Hall's attempts to interfere with the board's vote. Just before the
start of this year's season, the mayor bounced outspoken tenant
representative Ken Rosenfeld, who was regularly critical of the mayor and
who sued the board last year to force the release of a staff report on rent

While rent-stabilized tenants constitute the biggest group whose rents are
regulated by the board, they may not be the hardest hit this year. Unless
the RGB changes what appears to have been a mistaken vote cast in its
preliminary hearings, that status will belong to many SRO tenants, who face
a 5 percent increase for a one-year lease. Already among the city's poorest
and oldest tenants, SRO residents have recently been under tremendous
landlord pressure to move out so their rooms can be converted into
lucrative tourist-class hotel rooms. 

The RGB's proposed hike appears to be something of a mistake, since board
chair Ed Hochman said he did not realize until after voting that it would
affect many SROs; he thought it would apply only to a small class of
hotels. Ed Weinstein, the RGB member who had introduced the hike, refused
Hochman's request to recall the vote. 

While the hike itself is high, it is especially so considering that the
board has not raised SRO rents at all since its 1994­1995 guideline.
Sources say it is likely to be changed at the June 24 vote, but there's no
guarantee the board will adopt another year of zero-increase leases for SRO

Also facing substantial hikes are tenants who live in rent-stabilized
apartments that rent for less than $450 a month. The board regularly adds a
supplement— more aptly called a "poor tax"— on such units in response to
landlords' pleas that they cannot run buildings with such low rent rolls.
This year, the board has proposed a $15 monthly hike for such apartments,
plus the 2 or 4 percent hike that would accompany a lease renewal. 

Landlords will also cash in when rent- controlled units become vacant—
usually because a longtime tenant has died— and enter the
rent-stabilization system. RGB-proposed guidelines would make the first
rent-stabilized rent at least $650 or 80 percent of the maximum base rent
that could have been collected under rent control. 

Ironically, the lowest proposed rent hike appears to be going to those who
arguably need it least, loft tenants, who as a class have some of the
biggest and cheapest living spaces citywide. The RGB's preliminary vote
calls for a 1 percent hike for one-year leases, and 2 percent for two-year
loft leases. That said, loft tenants remain jittery as the state law that
protects them is up for renewal. Typically, state senators hold the law
hostage, seeking to horse-trade during budget hearings. This year is likely
to be no exception: The state assembly on June 1 extended the loft law
until 2004, but the senate has yet to act. The law expires June 30, and is
likely to limp along on short-term extensions until a state budget— already
76 days overdue— is accomplished. 

The RGB will hold one more public hearing, on June 22, before it casts its
final vote on June 24. The hearing begins at 11 a.m. at the Great Hall at
Cooper Union, and is scheduled to last until 9:30 that evening. The vote,
also at the Great Hall, begins at 5:00 and is to be completed by 9:30.
Details of the RGB's proposals and schedule can be found on its Web site, 

[note: for more comprehensive coverage, go to


RGB examines data for rent increases

What's a better reflection of apartment building upkeep: the actual income
and expenses filed under penalty of law by property owners; or a potpourri
of costs that's been hauled in the same basket since 1969?

That's one of the questions being asked by owners' representatives as they
examine the 1999 Income & Expense Study which was released to the members
of the Rent Guidelines Board last week.

The seven-member RGB board will be reviewing that data, as well as the
so-called market basket - the Price Index of Operating Costs (PIOC) - and
other evidence, over the next few weeks. The data will technically be used
to set rent guidelines increases for approximately 900,000 New York City
rent stabilized apartments, SRO's and hotels that have leases which become
effective on October 1, 1999.

But no matter what the data, few can argue that politics and raw emotions
have traditionally been just as much a part of the guidelines process as
the statistics. In the early 1990's, when inflation created double digit
PIOC numbers, owners were told the RGB would "make it up" to them in the
future, and rents were increased by only small amounts.

Now that inflationary costs have been controlled, however, tenants claim
building owners should not receive any rent increases at all.

Since 1989, the net operating income (NOI) per apartment per month has gone
down each year, and this is the first time the data shows the NOI exceeds
the 1989 amount-but not by much. In 1989, the NOI was $258, and in 1997,
the report shows NOI per apartment at $265.

"The NOI, on an inflation adjusted basis in 1997, is virtually identically
to the NOI in 1989," explained Dan Margulies, executive director of the
Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), a middle market owners'
group. "Over the eight years, there was a three percent increase."

Rent Guideline Board owner-member Vince Castellano wonders if there should
be a different system to determine rents for core Manhattan, since rent
stabilization is less important in preserving low rents in the outer boroughs.

Staten Island is given hardly any notice in the figures because the number
of rent stabilized buildings is statistically so small.

A study of recent movers released last year showed that 75 percent of those
moving to borough apartments received a preferential rent - which is lower
than the permitted rent allowed under the regulations - because owners
realized the rent would be too high for the borough market.

While in core Manhattan, Castellano said, "the numbers are almost flipped."

The 60 percent moving into Manhattan chose to pay more than an 18 percent
increase over their previous rent, but 75 percent of the movers in the rest
of the city paid less than an 18 percent increase.

"The $265 NOI is misleading and it's very political," Castellano added.

The NOI figures do not take into account any debt service paid by owners,
money needed for improvements, or money needed to pay income taxes.

For the first time, the RGB study notes, the PIOC and the RPIE data
provided identical results, showing a growth in expenses of 1.9 percent.

The PIOC, which is based on costs expected to be paid to vendors on an
April to April cycle, reacts faster when expenses are going up.

Eighty-eight percent of the 1998 RPIE filings were based on the 1997
calendar year, and a comparison with the previous year filings - known as a
longitudinal study - is very accurate, but the study advises the data is
not available to the RGB in a timely manner.

The RGB report states, however, "The RPIE data... is a highly reliable
measure of cost trends over both the short- and long- term because the I&E
Study relies on actual empirical data supplied by a large representation of
the City's stabilized owners.

Still, from 90/91 to 96/97 the PIOC costs grew 26.4 percent, while over the
same time period, the RPIE costs increased by 24.6 percent. Increases in
fuel and insurance costs also "vary considerably" in the two indices over
the six years.

"We should look at the breadbasket. There has to be a change," said Joseph
Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), which
represents 25,000 owners, in referring to the weight given to each PIOC cost.

For instance, owners recognize that fuel costs have gone down, but they
remain heavily weighted in the PIOC. Over the same time, water costs have
substantially increased, particularly for those that were caught with high
population buildings on metered billing, and yet that remains a small
component of the PIOC. In July, too, the Water Board is expected to
institute yet another 4 percent hike.

There are also worries about ongoing percentage increases in costs dictated
by all levels of government. "Virtually all the costs are determined by
government," said Castellano.

Recent federal, state and city administrative burdens and reporting
requirements include such items as recycling signage, separation and fines;
new fire signage; notices and fines; new lead paint work advisory notices
and abatement costs; and steadily increasing property taxes, because the
levy has been increasing even while the administration honors a technical
freeze on the overall tax rate.

There is an increase in administration to comply with Major Capital
Improvement recapture (and retroactivity is lost forever if the tenant
moves); as well as the J-51 programs; RPIE filings; property tax assessment
challenge forms - where the full amount must be paid, and although resolved
years later, no interest is paid on the overcharges; index number purchase
costs to begin court actions; Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption
program filings; window guard notifications and follow-ups; and Americans
with Disabilities Act compliance, to name a few.

"Since 1969, the regulatory burden has increased and management needs
trained bodies to comply with the paperwork,' observed Castellano.

Labor costs also increase each year. While Bronx buildings just concluded a
four-year pact with local 32E, with the change in 32B-32J leadership and an
end to its three-year agreement coming early next year, unionized labor
costs could become a wild card for 3,000 residential buildings in the other

On April 21, the 32B-32J union employees received annual weekly raises and
increased benefits. According to Realty Advisory Board figures, it
currently costs an owner about $200,000 to provide residents with a
doorperson 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

The 1997 costs in Manhattan's post-war buildings for labor and
administration ran $40 and an astounding $221 respectively for 11-19 unit
buildings; $98 and $66 for 20-99 unit buildings; and $200 and $100 for
100-unit plus buildings. By comparison, the same expenses in Queens ran $41
and $45; $50 and $45; and $87 and $53.

Total costs for Manhattan's post-war 11-19 unit buildings were $1,035 per
unit, but they enjoyed an average rent of $754 and a total income per
apartment per month of $1,920. So while they obtained a large income, it
appears they worked hard for it, and paid for it with higher taxes. Older
small buildings generally fared less well. That sample is probably skewed,
since the buildings reporting were of higher value to begin with, and were
likely from core Manhattan neighborhoods.

It is well known in the affordable housing arena that the smaller buildings
are generally owned by the least knowledgeable, and have the most difficult
time keeping up with the administrative burden and costs. Yet the data
shows that even buildings of 20-99 units can have serious financial problems.

Owner advocates say savvy tenants in a building where an owner is likely to
miss any one of the numerous filing requirements can keep it tied up in
court over violations or non-payment proceedings and cause rent strikes,
rollbacks or treble damages from which the ownership might never recover.

Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) warns in the proposed budget
beginning in July, 1999, that it expects to issue 300,000 housing
violations, including 10,000 lead paint violations.

That agency still has over 14,000 occupied units under its management,
after earlier administrations foreclosed on properties that did not pay
their property taxes.

About 1,500 of those units are scheduled to return to community and
not-for-profit operation in the coming year after being rehabilitated at a
cost of more than $80 million in city finds and twice that in leveraged
funds from state, federal and private sources.

Overall, the RGB reports units in buildings that did not have some
commercial income, such as from a laundry room or retail store, had an
avenge NOI of $216 per month, 19 percent lower than the norm.

So while overall income jumped 11.4 percent citywide, that merely served to
bring some buildings back to 1989 adjusted income levels, and did not touch
all neighborhoods equally. "It's a citywide figure and the disparities are
enormous borough to borough," noted Castellano.

The RGB study accounts for that jump in part by indicating owners rented
more vacant units and collected more of the rents they were entitled to

It also attributes some of the increase to the rent guidelines applicable
during the end of 1996 and beginning of 1997, which were 5 percent for a
one-year lease and 7 percent for a two-year lease, well over the previous
year's 2 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Last year's guideline was just 2 percent for a one year lease.

"Two years ago, we advocated the elimination of the Rent Guidelines Board
and suggested it be replaced with a standard formula," recalled Strasburg.
He said one thought would be to use the Consumer Price Index "plus."

Even though the CPI number has lately been low and slow, it has reacted
during inflationary times. Strasburg said when the PIOC had double digit
increases, owners were asked to hold down rent increases - with promises of
being taken care of when the economy evened out.

"From an annual perspective, we recognize that in those years, the industry
was justified in getting double digit increases, and we lost it forever,"
Strasburg noted. "Now we're fighting over getting nothing or very little."

Margulies of CHIP thinks rent increases of 4 percent for one-year leases
and 8 percent for two-year leases are reasonable for the coming year.

"Maintaining the status quo is not enough to encourage investment," he
warned, because the repeating pattern shows the city could be nearing the
top of the economic cycle.

Approximately 8 percent of the sample, which is 902 buildings, have income
that is less than their expenses. These building have operating expenses 12
percent higher than avenge, and rent which is 37 percent less than average.

These buildings are burdened by "low rents, lack commercial income and
suffer high operating expenses," the study noted, while contributing less
in property taxes and incurring lower labor costs.

Distressed buildings tended to be of pre-war vintage and located in
Manhattan, where six had over 100 units, 250 buildings had between 20-99
units, and another 173 buildings contained 11-19 units.

The concentration in Manhattan may simply be a reflection of these higher
assessed properties having to comply with the reporting requirements of the

The city no longer takes over distressed buildings, but has programs that
help owners with items such as low-interest loans for repairs, and
maintains building income streams by providing low-income tenants such as
senior citizens and certain others with rent supplements. HPD expects to
spend $75 million in city money on these programs during the next fiscal
year, and twice that in non-city leveraged funds.

In July, the Mayor's proposed budget expects overall property tax revenue
to increase by 4.3 percent. with the actual levy increasing by 4.1 percent.
In 1999, only 92.5 percent of taxes were collected, equivalent to the 1993
collections at the height of the real estate recession and the previous
worst year for collections in the decade.

The RGB study shows property taxes as the largest component of costs per
unit in rental buildings. Post-1946 buildings pay a citywide average of
$155 per unit per month, dropping to $107 on average for all buildings.
This represents an average of 23 percent of total building expenses. But
Manhattan's post-war small and large buildings have closer to 30 percent of
their outlays going towards taxes.

The Manhattan owners of the smallest (11-19 units) and largest buildings
(100+) paid the most by far of any borough at $161 and $167 per unit per
month, respectively, for pre-war units. They paid $324 and $329 per unit
for post-war, while pre-war buildings of 20 to 99 units paid $112 per unit,
jumping to the post-war tab of $192 per unit.

While property taxes were also lower for larger buildings in The Bronx,
Brooklyn and Queens, compare the Manhattan costs to taxes paid in the Bronx
of $54, $47 and $36 per unit per month for small, medium and large pre-war
buildings, respectively.

Similar costs in Brooklyn are $70, $65 and $65, while pre-war Queens owners
paid $78, $78 and $61 per unit per month for similarly sized buildings.
Queens post-war buildings paid $109, $95 and $93 per unit in taxes for the
small, medium and large buildings, respectively, while Bronx and Brooklyn
tax costs were just over the $80 per unit range.

The city sells liens on unpaid property taxes in bulk to companies that
collect the money owed for the year, along with the city's 18 percent
interest charge (where the total yearly tax is under $2,750, and a 5
percent lien surcharge.) If those payments are not kept current, it is now
the bulk buyers who are permitted to foreclose and then sell individual

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) 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, 17 Jun 1999 20:13:16 -0400
Subject: Tenants Online 6/17/99

Tenants Online                                            6/17/99

                  RENT GUIDELINES BOARD

Rarely do critical issues arrive for hearings and votes at the same time,
but next Monday and Tuesday are critical on several issues -- the Vallone
Lead Paint Bill and the Rent Guidelines Board are essentially happening at
the same time. It's not only a question of physical presence at these
hearings, it's a matter of focus and energy for tenants.

A third issue is also coming up at the same time, a proposal to build a
water filtration plant in Vandt Cordtlandt Park in the Bronx. It's not so
much a tenant issue, but one that affects neighborhoods, communities, our
parks and how we treat open space in this city. We include information on
this below.



Emergency Alert! - Hearing of Vallone Lead Bill on Monday June 21!

We have just received word that a meeting of the City Council's Housing and
Buildings Committee has been set for this Monday, June 21, at City Hall on
the Vallone Lead Bill! 

Apparently Vallone's staff has been playing with the time of the hearing --
first they said 11:00, then they said 10:00 am. At this point we're not
sure when it will start, but when we verify it, we'll send out another notice.

Also Vallone is trying to deflect responsibility by dropping it in the lap
of Archie Spigner, Councilmember from Queens and Chair of the Housing and
Buildings Committee -- who is a well-known Vallone apologist and landlord
pawn. Remember, the original lead bill, Intro 205 -- was introduced by
Stanley Michels from the Environmental Committee, not the Housing committee.

Vallone has refused to release the latest version of his bill. However, we
can expect it will be as bad as every draft we've seen thus far. You can
see the latest public draft at



2) The Housing Committee is Chaired by Archie Spigner, and includes Stanley
Michels, Helen Marshall, Martin Malave-Dilan,  Tracy Boyland, Larry Warden,
Madeline Provenzano, Mike Nelso, and Thomas Ognibene.  It is not a strong
group for us. 

3) You should focus phone calls on Michels and Marshall, to get them to
push Intro 205, not the Vallone bill, and to push to get this meeting
adjourned until we can get a reasonable amount of time to review a draft
and prepare for a hearing. 

4) You should focus as well on getting supportive council members who are
not on the Housing Committee to come to the hearing, to ask questions, to
push for Intro 205.  Poeple like Lopez, Linares, Carrion, Perkins, Reed,

5) You must begin preparing testimony AT ONCE ...  that, among other
things, notes the horrific process here, the failure of the Vallone bill to
protect kids, the merits of Intro 205, etc... 

6) We need to get as many civic, religious, labor, racial justice,
community, health, environmental, etc. leaders and groups to weigh in on
this. NOW --- we cannot wait. 

7) Come the emergency strategy meeting tomorrow morning at NY State Trial
Lawyers, 132 Nassau St., 2nd floor, at 9 a.m. If you can't come in person,
they may be able to patch you in via speaker phone (212-349-5890). 


Final Hearing, Tuesday June 22
Final Vote, Thursday June 24

For more information and proposed guidelines, go to:

THE RGB SCHEDULE (see below for tenant schedule)

Tuesday, June 22, 1999
The Great Hall at Cooper Union, Foundation Building
7 East 7th Street at 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003

   11:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M.& 6:30-7:30 P.M.

   2:00 P.M.- 5:30 P.M. & 7:30 - 9:30 P.M.

Thursday, June 24, 1999
The Great Hall at Cooper Union, Foundation Building
7 East 7th Street at 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10003 

   5:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.

Tenants will have a demonstration at the Rent Guidelines Board hearing
Tuesday June 22 11:00 a.m - 9:30 pm.


11am - 1pm:
SRO and hotel testimony, denounce proposed 5% increase for SRO's, 
backed by NYC Tourism Chief Fran Reiter who wants to convert SRO's to tourist 
hotels. Denounce elimination anti-warehousing and registration requirements. 
1:30 pm:
Press conference outside hearing, Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 East 7th
Street "Landlords kick back unlawful rent increases through campaign

2:-5:30 pm:
Apartment testimony.  Denounce proposed 2% and 4% increases when 
owners' costs went up 0.03% [only after costs of June 1998 32B-32J settlement 
were atttributed at zero in 1998 and doubled in 1999] and profits went up 10% 
last year and 11% the year before. Demand Giuliani's puppets pull the string 
on the Poor Tax, the horrendous surcharge on low rent apartments that has 
reduced the number of stabilized apartments renting for under $500/month from 
400,000 in 1993 to under 200,000 now even as poverty grips 1.8 million New 

5:30-6:30 pm:
Anti-Giuliani Demonstration outside hearing at Great Hall at Cooper Union,
7 East 7th Street.  Be creative and bring your passion! 

6:30 to 9:30 pm [or whenever]:
Continuation of testimony. Call RGB at 212/385-2934 ext.11. to sign up to
testify, or just show up. 


Issue: Filtration Plant in Van Cortlandt Park
(Here are two letters describing the issue and followed by "What You Can Do")

The Parks Council
The Urban Center
457 Madison Avenue
New York, NY  10022
(212) 838-9410

June 3, 1999

Dear Friend of Parks:

Re: Threat to Van Cortlandt Park and all City Parks

You've probably heard about the city's plans to build a water filtration 
plant in Van Cortlandt Park.  But you may not be aware of the plant's 
physical impact on Van Cortlandt, or the dangerous precedent this industrial 
project sets for all city parks. The filtration plant will become a massive 
presence in one park.  But its impact could be felt beyond the Bronx, making 
all parks vulnerable in the future to inappropriate uses.  

The City Council will hold a public hearing about the plant on June 22nd at 
11:00 a.m. at City Hall.  We urge you to attend the hearing to testify 
against placing an industrial plant in a public park and/or contact your City 
Council representative to express concern. 

Meanwhile, we are working with the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park to inform 
you about the project and answer any questions you may have.  

Impact on Van Cortlandt Park       

During construction, 23 acres of the park will be fenced and closed for a 
minimum of five years, and a six-story (55-77 foot-deep) pit will be carved 
from the earth by digging and blasting through bedrock.  Approximately one 
billion cubic yards of soil and rock will be removed from the park, and a 
quarter of a million cubic yards of concrete will be poured in.  The 
resulting noise, dust and traffic will affect the surrounding parkland, 
including a playground only a short distance from the construction site. 

The plant will permanently alter the topography of the area, which is an 
undulating, natural landscape that gently slopes up from street level.   The 
plant will have a huge flat roof at a grade of 205 feet. (The existing slope 
varies in grade from 170 to no more than 200 feet.)  To get the effect, image 
a huge structure in the park that is higher than the overhead subway that 
runs above Jerome Avenue - - with a golf driving range (and nets surrounding 
it) on the roof.

Violation of Laws Protecting Parks

City and state laws protect parks against non-park facilities such as the 
filtration plant.  However, city officials maintain that legislative approval 
is not required in this case because the filtration plant will be placed 
underground and park activity will continue above.  But after the plant is 
built, the park will not be the same. Essentially, the underground facility 
will be a four-story building covered by a thin layer of dirt.  This mound 
will house an active industrial facility with thousands of pounds of
chemicals trucked in and tens of thousands of pounds of solid sludge
trucked out on a daily basis. 

These industrial operations are not compatible with parkland or nearby 
residential property uses.    

Viable Alternatives in Westchester

Two Westchester towns, Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh, are offering 
alternative sites for the filtration plant.  These sites, formerly occupied 
by Union Carbide, are already zoned for industrial use, and unlike Van 
Cortlandt Park, they are not surrounded by dense neighborhoods, parks and 
public schools.

The major reason that the Mayor and the Department of Environmental 
Protection would like to place the filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park is 
cost-containment.  It will be less expensive to build the plant in the park 
than to build it on one of the alternative, appropriately zoned sites.  We 
find this argument to be particularly threatening.  It will always be less 
expensive to place problematic facilities and operations in parkland-because 
the city already owns the land. 

We hope you share our concern.   This is not just another water supply 
facility, like the tunnels, valves or vents that already exist in some parks. 

If this chemical treatment plant is built in Van Cortlandt Park, we fear it 
will set a precedent that will haunt all city parks into the next century. In 
deciding where to build the filtration plant, the City Council will have to 
decide whether the city will place a higher value on saving money or on 
protecting its irreplaceable parkland.  We urge you to join this debate.  If 
you cannot attend the hearing, please ask your local City Council Member to 
oppose the filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park, and, instead, thoroughly 
investigate the viable options for the plant in Westchester.    

Thank you for your support in this important matter.


Elizabeth A. Cooke
Executive Director     
The Parks Council

Another Letter:

Dear Friends of the Parks:

Did you know that on June 29 the City Council may vote "Yes" to
building a $700+ million dollar industrial plant in Van Cortlandt Park?  If
we don't take action now, the Council may well vote to support the most
damaging action ever taken against NYC parklands.  

The plant in question is a chemical filtration system designed to
filter city water obtained through the Croton Reservoir system. This is the
very same plant that was successfully stopped from being sited in Jerome
Park Reservoir. In a surprise move in December 1998, the NYC Dept. of
Environmental Protection (DEP) named the Mosholu Golf Course in Van
Cortland Park as the new site for the plant. The construction of a major
industrial complex in a city park will set a dangerous precedent and put
the future of all city parks at risk.

The plant, if built, will remove nearly 40 acres of park land from
public use for at least 5-7 years during construction and will have serious
health and quality-of-life effects on the people of Norwood, Bronx. This
low-income minority community is already battling high rates of asthma, and
the airborne dust and debris resulting from the blasting and gouging out of
a 60-foot deep pit the size of at least 12 football fields could send
asthma rates soaring. 

An estimated one million+  tons of earth and rock will be removed to
make way for the chemical plant and parking lots. The chosen site is
directly adjacent to residential areas and is near three hospitals;
construction will entail years of blasting noise and traffic congestion
from daily truck traffic in and out of the site.

The operation of the plant is itself environmentally unfriendly. It
will be a giant power user, gobbling up 15 megawatts of power a day. The
chemical filtration process will use hundreds of thousands of gallons of
five different toxic chemicals and produce tons of de-watered toxic sludge
as a byproduct. These toxic chemicals will be trucked in and out to the
plant on a daily basis.

Croton water does not need to be filtered. It currently meets and
exceeds all federal EPA health-related standards for drinking water. A
proposed future standard which may never be adopted will not be met by
Croton water, but can be dealt with through non-filtration alternative
methods. Cryptosporidium has been found very rarely and at very low levels
in Croton water, and has never been a problem there. Chlorine protects
against Crytosporidium in our city's water.

A filtration plant is not needed for public health reasons. It's
construction, however, is desirable to those interests favorable to the
construction industry and developers, and unfavorable to community gardens,
parks, and the people who use these open spaces. It is the general public
who will bear the burden of paying for filtration through the raising of
water rates.
Last, but not least, end-point filtration of the city's water
supply is an open door to the proliferation of development in the
watershed--malls, megastores, corporate parks, highways, housing
developments­all of which have a negative impact on natural water bodies,
and on forests and green open spaces. YOU can help prevent this travesty by
urging City Council members to vote "NO"---it's easy: 


1. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrar's office said they will have a
news conference at 12:30 p.m., Monday 6/21. Anyone planning to attend -- in
an official capacity -- should call Ferrar's office at (718) 537-3386 or
590-8787 by 4:00 p.m. Friday.

2. Urge members of the City Council and Peter Vallone to vote "No" on a
filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park You can e-mail all of them (who have
email) at: Names, districts, and contact information is at: Their e-mail addresses are hot buttons, so all you have
to do is click the mouse and tell them what you think. (It's better to call
them with the phone numbers on the same page as many council members don't
even know what email is)

3. Tues., June 22, VERY, VERY IMPORTANT DEADLINE -  Hearing at the
Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses. This committee
will make a recommendation to the Land Use committee whether to vote YES or
NO. Please attend the the hearing at 11 am at City Hall, Second floor.
Committee members are:

John D. Sabini, Chair    212-788-6972              
Adolfo Carrion, Jr.    212-788-7250
Bill Perkins   212-788-7397
Michael J. Abel    212-788-7357
Priscilla A. Wooten                718-272-3050    212-788-6859

4. Wed., June 23, ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL DEADLINE  -  Land Use Committee votes
YES or NO on filtration.

Committee members are:

June M. Eisland, Chair   212-788-7084
Mary Pinkett      212-788-7007
Archie Spigner    212-788-7069
Sheldon S. Leffler   212-788-6850
Noach Dear           212-788-7022
A. Gifford Miller   212-788-6873
Martín Malavé-Dilán   212-788-7284
Guillermo Linares   212-788-7354
John D. Sabini     See June 22 above
Adolfo Carrion, Jr.   See June 22 above
Bill Perkins      See June 22 above
Michael J. Abel      See June 22 above
Herbert E. Berman                     718-241-9330     212-788-6984
Jerome X. O'Donovan                   718-727-9730     212-788-7098
Walter L. McCaffrey                   718-639-1400     212-788-6957
Lawrence A. Warden                    718-994-9951     212-788-7384  
Priscilla A. Wooten                                  See June 22 above

Attend press conference on Monday, June 21, 12:30 pm, steps of City Hall.     

5. Attend the "Hands Around the Park" rally, Saturday, June 26, 12 - 4 pm at
Jerome Ave. and Gunn Hill Road near the proposed site. For information on
speakers, music, food, etc., call the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park at
(718) 601-1460 or the Mosholu Woodlawn South Community Coalition at
718-655-1054. Subway: IRT #4 Mosholu Ave, walk north 2-3 blocks. 

See Norwood News ( and

Other contacts: Jennifer Ritter at the NW Bronx Community and Clergy
Coalition at 718-299-7895 and Frank Eadie of the Sierra Club, (212) 243-2319.

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
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  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, 20 Jun 1999 13:26:04 -0400


The hearing on Vallone's Lead Bill will be tomorrow,
Monday, June 21 at 10 a.m. (we confirmed it is at 10, not 11 a.m.)
City Council Chambers, City Hall

You need to enter City Hall from the east (it's closed on the Broadway side)
There's an entrance on the east side of City Hall, a ramp leading to a
basement entrance, go through the metal detector and take the elevator to
the second floor where City Council chambers are.

  From the City Council website:

  Committee on Housing and Buildings. . .10:00 a.m.
  Preconsidered Int. ____ - By Council Member Spigner, et al - A LOCAL LAW 
  - to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation 
  to childhood lead poisoning prevention, and to repeal subdivision h of 
  section 27-2013 of such code.
  Council Chambers - City Hall - Archie Spigner, Chairperson

In the middle of the afternoon on Friday, Vallone's office finally released
a copy of the Vallone Lead-Paint Bill which is to be the subject of
Monday's hearing at City Council.


More opportunities to Poison Children

The bill is largely the same as prior drafts -- only worse!  The
time-frames for City enforcement have now been extended even further: HPD
has 15 to 25 days to inspection, then 60 days before issuing a violation
(probably so that HPD can give the landlord a nudge to fix it quick before
the violation is issued, to avoid any real record and to prevent the
landlord from having to disclose!), then the landlord has 21 days to
repair, extendable for endless periods of 30 days, and if the landlord
fails to, then HPD has 70 or 90 days to reinspect before HPD has to do the
repairs. So all together, we're looking at the better part of a year before
anything is going to be done. As Megan Charlop has pointed
out, in the time frame of a young child's life, this is an eternity -- and
will result in loads of poisonings!

All the other bad stuff is still there -- the limits on liability, the
requirement that tenants give notice of children and notice of lead
hazards, the limitation of lead hazards to only peeling paint (i.e.,
friction surfaces, impact surfaces, chewable surfaces, dust, are all not
considered hazards -- even though the EPA does!), the limitation of the
presumption, the evisceration of the safety standards for paint repairs,
etc., etc., etc.  It is, first and foremost, the PETER VALLONE LANDLORD

The Church and Landlords together

Tenant and Health advocates -- joined by Councilmembers Michels and Perkins
-- were to meet with Vallone's staff at 3 p.m. on Friday. But they were
kept waiting for 45 minutes because Vallone's people were still meeting
with the landlord lobby in another room. Also with the landlords and
Vallone's people were representatives of the Catholic Archdiocese. Our
inside reports indicates the Catholic Church is lining up with the
landlords in support of the Vallone bill (apparently because the church is
a major owner as well). That the church is going to support legislation
that hurts young children is particularly disheartening.

Due Process be damned!

The advocates finally met with Vallone's staff -- Cathy Cudahy and Ramon
Martinez -- and immediately raised due process concerns: How can anyone
comment on a bill, and how can City Council have a hearing on a bill
released one business day beforehand? How can advocates line up interested
experts and concerned members of the public and organizations on 2 business
days notice? Vallone's people said that  the process is not open to
discussion, that this is the way legislation is done all the time... (in
Vallone's government, that's true) But for an issue of such massive
importance on public health, there is no reason this is being done except
to protect landlords and do something bad for the kids.
Helen Marshall (of the Black-Latino Caucus) chairs another Committee
meeting at the same time (Committee on Higher Education), so she won't be
at the Housing Committee hearing. Probably some other supporters won't be
there, either. 


A source close to the fire lays out this scenario: there will be a hearing
on Monday, at which no vote will be taken. Later that day or that night,
the bill will be amended, to make it look better (they often make it worse
so they can then make it better again -- so they can try to take credit for
doing something 'good') and voted on on Tuesday by the Housing Committee,
without another public hearing on the final form of the bill, then put
before the entire Council on June 29. As things presently stand, we can
expect to be stomped badly -- unless we can really muster some pretty damn
strong public outrage.

It's imprtant for the public to be at City Hall and overwhelm Archie
Spigner, Peter Vallone and the landlord lobby. Continue to call and fax
Vallone's office. Call the Catholic Archdiocese.

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) 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, 21 Jun 1999 12:23:49 -0400
Subject: Monday 6/21/99: Lead, RGB and Water Filtration


As we are sending this update, the City Council Committee of Housing and
Buildings, chaired by Peter Vallone puppet Archie Spigner, is hearing
testimony on the Peter Vallone Lead Bill that protects landlords instead of
the good lead bill, Intro 205, sponsored by Stanley Michels.

We hope many of you are able to stop by the hearings and lend support. But
it you are not able to do so, you can tune in tonight -- Monday, June 21st
-- to Housing Notebook at 7:00 p.m. on WBAI (FM 99.5). Matthew Chachère and
others will be guests recapping the day's lead activities at City Hall.

We've updated the information on the web site, at You
can compare the latest version (June 18) of the Vallone Lead Bill to the
original Intro 205.

Also available is the testimony from Matthew Chechère, an attorney with the
Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation and also Counsel to the New York
City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning.

Amazingly, the New York Times Editorial Board agreed it's time to
effectively take care of the lead problem. We've included it below.

REMEMBER, tomorrow, Tuesday, June 22nd is the Rent Guidelines Board hearing
at Cooper Union. Testimony starts at 11 a.m. for Hotels and 2 p.m. for
Apartments. There will be a press conference at 1:30 p.m. and a
demonstration at 5:30 p.m. Details at

Well, if you can't make the RGB Hearings or wish to split your day, then
also on Tuesday, June 22nd at 11:00 a.m. in City Hall is a hearing on the
attempt to construct a Water Filtration Plant in Van Cortlandt Park in the
Bronx. This is another Giuliani/Vallone Boondoggle and details are in the
News Update section at

June 21, 1999
New York Times Editorial
Get the Lead Dust Out

Millions of gallons of lead paint brightened the nation's walls before lead
was banned from paint almost 20 years ago nationally and almost 40 years
ago in New York City. The bans were part of a national effort to end lead
poisoning in children who ingest the dust when the old paint crumbles and a
sticky leaden residue settles onto whatever is underneath. Even in small
amounts, lead can cause permanent brain damage in younger children. Under
court order to enforce or revise the city's lead abatement law by June 30,
the New York City Council needs to address the issue of lead dust in
housing as a continuing health hazard for young children. 

As the Council moves into this contentious territory with its first hearing
scheduled today, the prime concern must be to protect children under age 6,
who can be damaged for life by high lead levels in their blood. That does
not mean that all lead paint must be removed from apartments housing young
children. Experts have come to agree that it is often safer to inspect,
repair and clean the area rather than scrape and sand it all away, creating
even more dust. But the decision on what action to take must be made on
health grounds, with cost an important, but secondary, consideration. 

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone is sponsoring a revised bill that bends
too far toward freeing landlords of any real liability for lead. The bill
puts the burden on the tenant to make sure the landlord is aware of young
children and any lead hazards in buildings constructed before 1960. In such
a critical health matter, the burden should be on landlords to demonstrate
the safety of their premises. 

The Council should be sure to investigate less expensive ways to keep
apartments lead-safe, so as to keep housing affordable for the poor, and it
should explore how to test apartment surfaces for lead dust after work is
done. The Council also ought to hear from experts about newer methods for
getting rid of lead hazards. With so much to digest, it may make sense to
ask the courts to give the city until October to argue through these
complicated issues. 

The effort to keep lead from children in this country has been one of the
great success stories in public health. Even so, every year more than 1,000
new children are documented with lead poisoning in some of the poorest
areas of New York City. They all deserve a home free of hazardous lead dust. 

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
  NYtenants(tm) 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, 22 Jun 1999 15:48:06 -0400
Subject: LEAD ALERT!! -- Tenants Online 6/22/99

Tenants Online                                            6/22/99
If you are on both the TenantNet and Hell's Kitchen email lists,
we apologize for the recent duplication of material. The Lead Paint
information is important for both lists.

In this issue

1. RGB hearings today!
2. Latest Lead update
3. What villianry is Peter up to now?
4. Help Peter Find Religion
5. Times and Post articles (actually worth reading)



To say there's a lot going on is an understatement. Today the
Giuliani-controlled RGB is having it's final hearing at Cooper Union where
it's expected to approve rent hikes of 2% and 4% even though overall rents
in NYC are obscene and landlord costs went up 0.03% (that's not 3 percent,
that's 3 one-hundreths of one percent). There's a tenant demonstration at
5:30 p.m. for those that might wish to still make it and testimony will
continue into the evening.


Yesterday, City Council held a hearing on the "Peter Vallone Landlord
Protection Act of 1999" (on lead paint).


Just a few minutes after the lead paint hearing ended, Vallone released a
new draft of his Lead Paint Bill, putting us back to where we were last
week. This was planned this all along. The Friday draft (the one considered
at the hearing) was much worse than all the previous drafts. This allows
Vallone to "fix it up" and claim he is responding to concerns raised at the
hearing. Bullshit!

According to insiders, the time frame for enforcement action was
shortened... slightly. They increased the penalties for false
certifications... slightly. They exempted gut rehabs. It's loaded with
agency discretion and loopholes and allows the Landlord or his/her vendor
to certify that the lead infestation  is clean. (when's the last time you
saw a landlord honestly certify anything?). It's riddled with opportunities
for landlords and has shifted the obligation to the tenants. Moreover, it's
a Giuliani-friendly bill and it limits liability for landlords and the
city. If there's enough time, we'll update the analysis on the web site at


Well, with the new Vallone ("I fixed it") lead bill, they've scheduled
another hearing this Thursday, June 24th -- just two days away at the
Housing and Buildings Committee at 10 a.m. This "new" bill is nothing new
and needs to be exposed for what it is. Of course, it's just "coincidence"
that this hearing is scheduled the same day as the final RGB vote.

And Vallone is rushing to get this through the entire Council by
rescheduling the regular City Council meeting from next Thursday to next
Wednesday, June 30th.


Help remind Peter Vallone of his promises to the Children of New York City
and Protest his using the Landlord Lobby Offices as his fundraising base of

  Picket Peter Vallone at his Fundraising Center!
  Wednesday, June 23 at 12 noon
  123 William St. 
  parallel to and east of Broadway, between Fulton and John St.


June 22, 1999
New York Times
Council Democrats Attack Bill to Clarify Laws on Lead Paint 

A bill intended to clarify the city's laws protecting children from
lead-paint poisoning, one that has the support of City Council Speaker
Peter F. Vallone and Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, came under vehement attack
Monday by Council Democrats, who said it favored landlords and the city
over children. 

Normally, a bill supported by the two leaders would sail easily to passage.
But at a raucous public hearing that began in the morning and lasted nearly
10 hours, the Democrats attacked the legislation, carrying out an unusually
loud challenge to their Speaker. 

They said the measure would allow landlords and city regulators too much
time to correct hazardous lead violations and would place too much
responsibility on the city's poorest residents to report suspicions of lead

The bill was intended by Vallone, a Democrat, and Giuliani, a Republican,
as a bipartisan effort to comply with a judge's orders that New York City
either rewrite its lead law or begin fully enforcing the existing statute,
which is considered outdated. 

Mayor Giuliani, at his daily news conference, defended the bill. "We think
the legislation is very fair and that it does protect everyone in a
reasonable and responsible way," he said. 

The stakes are high. Lead paint was banned nationwide in 1978, but as many
as 30,000 New York City children, mostly in poor and minority
neighborhoods, are at risk of lead poisoning. If ingested, lead can cause
learning disabilities, hyperactivity and seizures. 

Also hanging in the balance are the millions of dollars in abatement costs
and liability claims that are being paid by the city and by private
landlords. In addition, the city incurs millions more each year in
regulatory expenses like inspections and testing. 

The rancor in the City Council sets the stage for a frenzy of negotiations
and potential amendments to the bill if its sponsors hope to persuade the
Housing and Buildings Committee, made up of eight Democrats and one
Republican, to approve the measure and place it before the full Council for
a vote. 

The existing lead-paint statute, written in 1982, was broadly interpreted
by a state court in 1989 as requiring landlords to remove all lead paint
from any apartment built before 1960 in which children now live and peeling
paint has been found. 

But there is now general agreement that enforcing that broad interpretation
would pose even greater risks to children. Experts say the lead dust
released during the removal of paint is more dangerous than undisturbed
paint, as long as it does not deteriorate. 

Aides to the Mayor and the Speaker have been scrambling to rewrite the
statute by June 30 in hopes of avoiding citations for contempt of court. 

The often rowdy hearing offered a spectacle for anyone familiar with the
Council's routine. While the bill was sponsored by the Democratic
leadership, only Councilman Thomas V. Ognibene of Queens, the Republican
minority leader, asked friendly questions about it. 

The Democrats at the hearing, meanwhile, subjected the city's Health
Commissioner and its Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner to
hours of searing questioning, and at times forced them to concede points
that contradicted the Mayor's statements. 

As the hearing opened, the measure came under criticism from Councilman
Stanley E. Michels, a Manhattan Democrat who had written his own version of
a new lead-paint law. His bill had broad support in the Council but was set
aside by the Speaker's office in an effort to reach a compromise with the

"What we have before us is nothing more than a landlord protection bill,"
Michels said angrily. 

The new bill would hold the city responsible for eliminating lead-paint
hazards when landlords fail to do so. But it seeks to encourage landlords
to do the job themselves by easing work regulations and setting a more
relaxed time frame during which repairs must be made. 

The law would give the Housing Preservation and Development Department 15
to 25 days to respond to complaints with an inspection and 60 days after
the inspection to issue a notice of violation. After a notice was issued,
building owners would have 21 days to fix the problem. 

One controversial aspect of the bill would allow landlords to apply for
unlimited 30-day extensions in which to complete repairs. Michels suggested
that a landlord could easily postpone repairs for 10 months by using

Asked whether the law should require the city to respond to complaints
faster, the Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development, Richard
T. Roberts, acknowledged that his agency often responded to complaints of
hazardous conditions within 72 hours. But he insisted that the law should
not require the agency to do so. 

Critics of the bill also pointed out that it would not require a "clearance
test" after a landlord has corrected a lead-paint violation. The test is
used to check levels of lead dust after repairs have been done to see if
the work has been effective. 

The Giuliani administration has so far insisted that clearance tests not be
required. But at the hearing, the Health Commissioner, Dr. Neal L. Cohen,
said he strongly supported using the tests. 

"Clearance tests are important to confirm that the work has been done
safely," he said. 

Some Council members seemed dumbfounded that the Mayor's appointee had
agreed with them. 


New York Post, June 22, 1999

NEAR the end of yesterday's emotional City Council hearing on lead
poisoning, Kathy Cudahy, the legislative counsel to the speaker, was
standing in the back of the chamber. 

"We are going to have to re-group," Speaker Peter Vallone's top negotiator
on the lead bill was saying. "There will not be a vote tomorrow. We have to
go back to the drawing boards and draft amendments that take the members'
comments into account." 

Last Friday, it looked like the fix was in for the landlords to weaken the
laws protecting children from the hazards of lead paint. 

Vallone's staff was negotiating with landlords and the mayor's office. The
pro-tenant members of the council had been frozen out of the process. The
advocates for kids were waiting around to get a meeting with Vallone's staff. 

Jurisdiction for the bill had been switched from pro-tenant Stanley
Michels' committee to pro-landlord Archie Spigner's committee. 

Guillermo Linares, a strong advocate for poor children, told me he had been
tossed off Spigner's committee against his will. "Evicted," was the word he
used. This seemed to give Vallone and the landlord lobby a safe majority
for mischief. 

Vallone says Linares left the committee without objection to become chair
of a land-use subcommittee. 

Vallone's aides were planning a hearing yesterday, a committee vote today
and final passage next Tuesday - unprecedented haste for a major matter of
controversy. Usually, there are several months of hearings to get the
public's input. But when the hearing began yesterday, there was the
stunning surprise of democracy and real emotions in the room. 

This new lead bill was so bad, even council party-liners were stirring, and
thinking independent thoughts. 

June Eisland of The Bronx is usually predictable to vote with Vallone. 

But yesterday, she was asking sharp questions about how this new, hastily
drafted bill would impact on co-op boards. Kathy Cudahy admitted to me
afterward, "I hadn't thought about Eisland's questions. It will take a few
days to translate them into amendments." 

Harlem's Bill Perkins spoke passionately about the child of his aide, a
youngster who has a severe case of lead poisoning. 

Then the council's newest member, Michael Nelson of Brooklyn, spoke. He
said he would vote against this bill. 

Suddenly, the landlord lobbyists, Tony Ricci and John Doyle, looked ill.
The script was being torn up. The landlords had overplayed their hand. This
bill wasn't even close to a compromise. It was a capitulation. 

Vallone's bill would give landlords close to a year to remove lead paint
from apartments. It would free landlords from legal liability for poisoning
kids. Vallone's bill would even drop the use of an inexpensive scientific
test to see if invisible lead dust remains after repairs are made. 

City Comptroller Alan Hevesi proposed the whole issue be postponed until
the fall, and that negotiations for a compromise begin without an
artificial deadline. 

The lawyers representing lead-poisoned kids in the chamber immediately agreed. 

But the mayor is still refusing to extend the deadline, according to
Vallone. What seemed inexplicable was that Vallone was negotiating this
bill with Giuliani, not with the black and Latino members of the council,
who represent 90 percent of the city's 30,000 poisoned kids. 

Several council members suspect Vallone was trying to make a secret deal
with the mayor to get a quick non-partisan election inserted into the new
city Charter. 

The real politics of lead began yesterday after the public hearing was

The landlord lobby still wants to pass this bad bill next week, ignoring
the advocates' offer to lift a court-imposed deadline. 

But late yesterday, Vallone's press spokesman told me: "There will not be a
vote on Tuesday. Amendments will be drafted based on today's hearing. Maybe
it will be put on the agenda for this Friday." 

This means the bill might not come up for a vote next Tuesday. It would
take a two-thirds vote of the council to put it on the agenda on such short

And there does not seem to be near two-thirds of the council prepared to
toady to the landlord lobby. 

Stan Michels' superior bill has 35 sponsors (out of 51 members), and still
seems like the best starting place for a real compromise that protects poor
kids and also recognizes that it is not practical to remove all lead paint
from all apartments. 

Last night, Vallone's staff was up late trying to craft amendments to meet
the new objections. 

But as long as Vallone attempts to include the mayor's desires in the
legislation, it's hard to imagine a compromise that will satisfy Michels,
Eisland and Bill Perkins, who said, "This bill is dangerous to children." 

The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
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Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 02:33:48 -0400
Subject: Comittee Votes on Vallone's Lead Paint Bill Today - 6/24/99

Tenants Online                                            6/24/99
If you are on both the TenantNet and Hell's Kitchen email lists,
we apologize for the recent duplication of material. The Lead Paint
information is important for both lists.

In this issue

1. Update on Peter's Lead-Head
2. A Reader's Observation
3. Children Suffer While Peter Vallone Thins Lead Paint Law
   (J.A. Lobbia, Village Voice)



Wednesday was almost a day of recovery: only one demonstration and only one
press conference. We hear Stanley Michels was meeting with City Council
Speaker Peter Vallone for quite some time at City Hall, several new faces
appeared at the City Hall press conference, and an unpredictable bow-tied
westsider was heard calling Peter Vallone a "whoore" outside 123 William
Street where Peter Vallone's fundraising operation was the guest of the
Rent Stabilization Association. (we also hear that one of Vallone's sons --
either Peter, Paul or Terry -- no, we're not kidding -- was there and
turned red when he heard it). If not illegal, Vallone's use of RSA
facilities to raise campaign money tells us this is a man devoid of moral
character. OK, so you knew that.

We hear that Thursday, Johnny Cochran is supposed to have a press
conference at City Hall on the lead-paint issue and that Al Sharpton may be
on deck for Friday.

Of course, let's not forget that the Rent Guidelines Board will have it's
final vote tomorrow as well, Thursday June 24, 1999 from 5:00 P.M. - 9:30
P.M. at The Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 East 7th Street at 3rd Ave.

Tuesday, the Housing and Building's Committee heard testimony on the
Vallone Lead Paint Bill, worsened-up over the weekend so it could be
prettied up again. Late Tuesday, the Jenny Jones "make-over" lead paint
bill was re-released and another hearing for today is scheduled, also in
the Housing and Building's Committee. It's at 9:30 a.m. (not 10:00 a.m. as
previously reported) and expected to be a simple up/down vote. The net
result between last week's bill and what we have now is about bupkis. Read
more on the actual bill at

With all the heat, Michels and other councilmembers are hoping to make some
additional amendments to Vallone's new pretender. If left alone, Vallone's
bill could be voted on at next Wednesday's full council meeting with a
simple majority (a two-thirds vote is required if there's less than eight
days between introduction and the vote). If any amendments are adopted, the
game plan changes and both sides know this.

Tenant and Health advocates are trying to get the Judge (in the case
against the city) to agree to an extension until October. With the June
30th deadline approaching for the city to be in compliance with the more
onerous existing law, the plaintiff's in the suit (Coalition to End Lead
Poisoning) have indicated their willingness to have an extension -- and so
have many Councilmembers in a letter to the Judge. 

If an extension is granted, Vallone is under less public pressure to
railroad the landlord lead-bill and advocates will have further leverage to
demand that Intro 205 (the Michels' Bill) get sent out of the Environmental
Committee to the full Council floor. 

Also be aware that the landlords are also pulling out all the stops.
Yesterday's New York Post editorial (read landlord-paid advertisement)
tried to box Vallone in to the landlord side by questioning his
"leadership." (any paper that calles Vallone "responsible" must be on LSD).
And in Thursday's Times, John Tierney has another pack of landlord lies.

We understand that if Michels and eight other Council Members agree, a bill
can be sent out of commmittee, so get on the horn to your councilmember and
demand he/she join with Michels to get Intro 205 on the Council floor.

If you can, get down to City Hall. This committee is landlord friendly, so
it may take some doing, but here are the members with their district
telephone numbers and City Hall phone numbers (many don't use the City Hall
numbers, but it's worth a try).

Archie Spigner, Chair    (718) 776-3700   (212) 788-7069
Stanley E. Michels       (212) 788-7700   (212) 788-7700
Martin Malave-Dilan      (718) 453-4674   (212) 788-7284
Helen M. Marshall        (718) 507-0813   (212) 788-6862
Lawrence Warden          (718) 994-9951   (212) 788-7384
Tracy Boyland            (718) 345-3110   (212) 788-7387
Madeline Provenzano      (718) 931-6060   (212) 788-7074
Michael C. Nelson        (718) 743-8610    N/A
Thomas V. Ognibene       (718) 366-3900   (212) 788-7158

Of particular importance is Helen Marshall (listed above) and Guillermo
Linares 212-781-0856 (City Hall 212-788-7354) of the Black/Latino caucus.
They are of critical importance and both are under heavy pressure by
Vallone as well as by advocates. Get your message through to these

Also important is the Manhattan delegation. All except Eristoff would
probably vote for Intro 205 if it were on the floor, but that's not the
question -- the question you should ask them is if they will buck Vallone.
Which of them have that courage? Many of these councilmembers are being
threatened by Vallone with the loss of their Member's Items -- the cash
they get to fix up playgrounds and libraries. But what use will those
amenities be to lead-poisoned kids?

Kathryn E. Freed     (212) 788-7722     (212) 788-7722
Margarita Lopez      (212) 614-8751     (212) 788-7366
Christine Quinn      (212) 924-9104     
Andrew Eristoff      (212) 818-0580     (212) 788-7393
A. Gifford Miller    (212) 535-5554     (212) 788-6873
Ronnie M. Eldridge   (212) 765-4339     (212) 788-6975
Stanley E. Michels   (212) 788-7700     (212) 788-7700
Philip Reed          (212) 828-9800     (212) 788-6960
Bill Perkins         (212) 662-4440     (212) 788-7397
Guillermo Linares    (212) 781-0856     (212) 788-7354

And of course, Steve DiBrienza (running for Public Advocate) and Sheldon
Leffler (running for Queens BP) have an independent streak. Encourage them
to buck Vallone.

And if you're  too tied up enjoying the Rudy sham NYC quality-of-life, you
can catch an update next Monday, June 28, on Housing Notebook at 7:00 p.m.
over at WBAI-99.5 FM


One of our readers writes:

"Good piece on the City Hall infighting.  Just saw "The Third Man" at the
Film Forum - Bill Perkins should take Vallone for a walk through a
Hospital ward full of kids who've been lead-paint-damaged, the same way
Trevor Howard walks Joseph Cotten through one to change his mind about
Harry Lime.  

Lime, (Orson Welles) you'll remember, has been successful in post-war
Vienna selling diluted penicillin on the black market, and while he's
raked in money, kids have been horribly damaged by meningitis made worse
by bad medicine.

Plenty of parallels.  Bad guys profiting from making kids sick.  Can't
think of anyone who more deserves to be chased through the sewers than
Rudy Lime.


June 23-29, 1999 
Village Voice            
by  j.a. lobbia   

For years, Peter Vallone has made a practice of attending morning Mass,
where he presumably seeks guidance for his job as Speaker of the City
Council. But Vallone might do well to substitute, just once, his daily
church routine with a visit to the Bronx, specifically to Montefiore
Medical Center Thursday morning clinics for children who are poisoned by
lead. Such a trip might prove especially useful now, as Vallone is
orchestrating a roiling battle over the city's lead-paint laws. The speaker
appears to be locked in the clutches of a powerful landlord lobby that
wants to ditch its responsibility for keeping apartments— and children—
lead safe.

At press time Monday, a council committee was hearing testimony on a bill
drafted by Vallone's staff, much to the liking of the city's largest
landlord lobby. The bill would give building owners tremendous latitude to
ignore lead-paint hazards and would allow them such wide berth in removing
the paint that medical experts warn it will likely cause lead poisoning
cases to rise. (See Voice,"Peter's Poisoned Pen," June 15.) The council is
likely to vote on the bill on Tuesday, June 29.

"That bill is wrong because there's a lot of kids who get sick, and the
politicians and landlords don't have to deal with them, we do," says Wanda
Arache, who has been a regular at Montefiore's Thursday clinics ever since
her three-year-old son, Christopher Lee Arache, was diagnosed as lead
poisoned in 1997. Now, Christopher speaks little but is so aggressive his
mother describes him as "violent." Arache says Christopher regularly hits
her and his two-year-old brother and bangs his own head against the wall.
"And when he gets mad, forget about it," she says. "His behavior changes
like that!" she says, snapping her fingers. "It drives me crazy."

Christopher Arache is one of about 40 youngsters ranging from two months to
12 years old who come to the Montefiore clinic so doctors can track the
amount of lead that has tainted the children's blood and settled in their
bones. Children like Arache, four-year-old John Faulkner, five-year-old
Usama Babir and his two-year-old brother Islam Muhmed Beg, and others who
come to the Thursday clinics have high lead levels— at least 20 micrograms
of lead per deciliter of blood. A Tuesday clinic treats children with blood
lead levels below 20.

The consequences for children in both groups can be enormous. Complaints
range from chronic stomach aches, vomiting, and constipation to permanent
brain damage. Studies associate an IQ drop of nearly six points for every
10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Learning is also disrupted by
behavioral problems common to lead-contaminated children: many are
hyperactive and suffer attention deficit disorder; others are lethargic.
Studies have linked lead exposure to juvenile delinquency.

Most lead exposure occurs in the apartments where children live— thus the
interest of the real estate lobby, which complains about the expense of
lead abatement and liability in civil suits brought on behalf of poisoned
children. Vallone's bill offers landlords several weeks to remediate lead
paint without following strict Department of Health (DOH) guidelines— a
change that could exacerbate the problem, sources say, by failing to
thoroughly remove easily ingested lead dust.

"The bottom line is that if we admit a child for treatment and then have to
send them back to the type of environment that the Vallone bill permits,
that would be medical malpractice," says Dr. John Rosen, a pediatrician and
national expert on lead poisoning who runs the lead clinic at Montefiore.
"This is all politics with the real estate industry and unfortunately, the
children of New York will be held hostage."

By 9 o'clock last Thursday morning, the waiting room in Rosen's clinic was
packed with youngsters, most under five years old, watching Teletubbies and
parading about with bandages covering their arms where blood had been
drawn. Among them were the sons of Mirzza Farooq Beg, Islam Muhmed, and
Usama Babir.

"The doctor called me and said your babies have the lead," said Beg, a
43-year-old Pakistani immigrant. Islam Muhmed was poisoned with a lead
level of 24 micrograms per deciliter; Usama Babir had a lead level of 17.
The diagnoses came during a routine physical; the only change Beg had
noticed in his sons was a slight drop in their appetites. "The problem with
lead is that it can be so devastating, but the symptoms are so vague," says
Meagan Charlop, who works at the clinic. "It's not like a nice measles rash."

Lead is as persistent as it is insidious. It not only courses through the
blood— where it can be somewhat reduced through diet and medicine— it also
lodges in bones. Such deposits become mobilized if a bone breaks. Pregnancy
also reactivates bone-based lead, and a mother can pass it on to her fetus
and in breast milk. In the past year alone, Rosen says at least 15
lead-poisoned newborns have been treated. One 16-month-old was brought in
with a shocking lead level of 287 micrograms per deciliter.

After Beg's sons were diagnosed, he says, DOH tested the Bronx apartment
where he had lived for 11 years and found lead paint. Beg moved in with
relatives, and says he paid a contractor $4800 of his own money to fix his

Beg's boys are shy and cling to their father. Usama Babir answers questions
only with a nod, but he seems to understand them. That's more than John
Faulkner, another child at the Montefiore clinic, can do. In fact, the
four-year-old can barely talk, communicating instead by humming and whining
in an odd, sing-song style that only his mother, Monica Bennett, understands.

"He gets speech therapy three times a week, but he knocks his head on the
wall, and almost everything sets him off," says Bennett, whose son still
wears diapers. John's first lead test last September found a level of 38
micrograms per deciliter; treatments have brought it down to 31.

Bennett says peeling lead paint abounded in her Jessup Avenue apartment,
and John got poisoned the way most children do— by crawling about as an
infant and putting his hands in his mouth. Bennett's landlord quickly fixed
the apartment following DOH protocol, and it is now lead safe. But Bennett
continues to worry for John. "I want him to be normal like other kids, but
now, he doesn't correspond with nobody," says the Jamaican-born Bennett.
"When you talk to him, he just sits and rocks by himself."

Wanda Arache learned of her son's lead poisoning by telegram in December
1997; the child's pediatrician was so alarmed by finding 47 micrograms per
deciliter in the then one-year-old's blood, a telegram seemed appropriate.
Christopher underwent chelation, which introduces a drug into the blood
that binds with lead and ultimately carries it out in urine. Chelation is
done only when lead levels hit 45, usually requires five days in the
hospital, and does not rid the blood of lead entirely.

Christopher's lead level has dropped to the mid 30s. "Even now, he's not
that good," says Arache, who notes that a recent intelligence evaluation
found her son is a year behind his peers. "He's too hyper, too aggressive,"
she says, as the child bounces out of her lap and down the clinic's
hallway. "He mumbles, and I can't understand him. It's stressful for me."

Arache tries to mitigate the poison's wrath by enhancing the calcium in her
son's diet, since lead damages a child's brain in part by interfering with
calcium, which is key in neurotransmission, and ultimately blocking or
twisting messages to the brain.

When Christopher's poisoning was discovered, Arache moved into Montefiore's
"Safe House," six apartments where families stay until their own homes are
safe. She stayed there for three months.

Montefiore's six units are among only nine citywide. Their existence is as
important as it is ironic: Despite the fact that lead's dangers are
well-known, grave, and entirely avoidable, children must seek safety in
another home, because their own offers none.

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Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 07:12:06 -0400
Subject: Thursday's Hearing - Urgent Call for Action - 6/25/99

Tenants Online                                            6/25/99
To unsubscribe, see the bottom of this newsletter
Information on the RGB vote will be in a separate email

In this issue...

1. Update on Peter Vallone's Landlord Protection Lead Bill
2. Council Cowards OK Vallone's Mistake (Newfield, NY Post)
3. Pols come up short on paint protection  (Dwyer, Daily News)
4. Council Approves Safeguards Against Lead Paint (Times)



The hearing today by the Housing and Buildings Committee appeared to be
more than City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Committee Chair Archie
Spigner bargained for.  

Originally set for the small committee off of the main Council Chambers,
there was such a crowd of people, especially parrents with their
kids, that they had to move it to the Blue room (the old Board of
Estimate room) on the other side of City Hall. It didn't get started until
nearly 11 a.m.

HPD Commissioner Richard Roberts blew off questions to which he simply
could not answer, fumbled, and then was rushed out of there by Spigner.
Health Commissioner Cohen "couldn't make it"....  Obviously, he would never
have been able to explain how he is deep-sixing kids, and undoubtedly he
hadn't recovered from his pathetic performance on Monday. Virgina Fields
and the First Deputy City Comptroller (for Alan Hevisi) vigorously opposed
the bill. Some mothers testified against it, advocates, and the usual
landlord hench-people.

Among the council members, non-Housing Committee members such as
Linares, Freed, DiBrienza, Quinn, Eldridge (and maybe one or two others)
were quite strong. They understood without any apparent qualification just
how bad this bill is.

The others on the committee were quibbling about whether or not it bars
liability. People like Gifford Miller (Manh. East side) are particularly
playing stupid on this. No matter how many times people brief him --
including experts from the trial lawyers -- he keeps repeating inane (or is
it insane) theories that one can recover personal injury damages under the
warranty of habitability even without actual notice of lead hazards. Miller
conceded to one advocate in the hallway that the bill is terrible, but said
"what good will it do if I vote against it - Vallone will just throw me off
the committees I'm on."  Gee, is that why he sought office?

The other line being thrown out is "well, see, the bill got fixed -
there are tighter time frames and dust tests."  Of course, the time
frames are still outrageous - as long as 200 days (give or take a few)
between a tenant's complaint and final resolution. And the so-called
dust tests are absurd - especially because, as Linares points out, not
required for work done on peeling paint on walls or ceilings (only on
windows, doors, and mouldings). And there are no numbers set for the
clearance levels, no requirements that the results of the dust tests be
provided to anyone (not the tenant, not HPD, NO ONE), thus its like self
certification all over again (especially because the landlord or
contractor can do it!

Stanley Michels tried to put in amendments, all of which were defeated. So
the vote came down like this:

Michels           No    (calling the bill a disgrace) 

Spigner           Yes

Boyland           No    (much to our surprise... but said her 
                         district is full of lead poisoned kids)

Dilan             Yes   (even though his district - 
                         Bushwick - is in the lead belt)

Provenzano        Yes

Warden            Yes

Nelson            Yes   (even though on Monday he said he 
                         couldn't support the bill)

Ognibene          Yes   

Marshall          Yes   (to our great disappointment - 
                        she had some nonsense excuse along the lines of:
                        there hasn't been enough time to study this, 
                        but I think we should move it too the floor 
                        for a full discussion" Yeah, right)

The Mayor and Vallone are now claiming the bill will be a clear winner
next Wednesday.  

We can stop this -- but only if all of us do our utmost to reach out to
other constituencies to organize pressure on councilmembers. Its now or
never. Go to the NYC Council website Councilmember address book at and call or fax as many
councilmembers as you can. Ask to speak to the Chief of Staff or
legislative aide. Get your message across. Tell them to do the right thing
for children and not to buckle under Vallone's threats.

On Saturday at 11 am, Rev. Al Sharpton will be holding a news
conference to urge opposition to Vallone's bill to poison children.

-- reported by Matthew Chachére and other tenant/health advocates


New York Post, June 25, 1999

ON TUESDAY, Manhattan Democrat Kathryn Freed read the just-printed
so-called compromise bill on lead-paint poisoning of children in the slums. 

She looked up and declared: "This is improved by 1 percent. This is no
compromise. This is a sham." 

Yesterday, the City Council's committee on housing voted 7-2 to approve
this sham bill, putting it on a fast track to be voted into law next

Among those voting for the bill were Martin Malave-Dilan, whose Brooklyn
district has many lead-poisoned children, and Helen Marshall, who was
summoned to Speaker Peter Vallone's office just before she sold out. 

Some of the landlord lobbyists who loitered in the halls pretended to be
unhappy with this bill. But that was an act to suggest balance and equal
sacrifice where none exists. 

Just like Vallone tried to foster the illusion of non-responsibility by not
appearing at the hearing, and by not putting his own name on the bill. 

But history will know this law as Vallone's Mistake. 

This bill doesn't even meet the standards for lead-dust testing endorsed by
the city's health commissioner, Neal Cohen. It fails to protect children
from the dangers of lead-contaminated dust. 

It does protect even negligent landlords from civil liability and lawsuits. 

It has a phony wipe test for lead that excludes walls and ceilings. 

It allows landlords the luxury of self-certification - which is like
letting drunken drivers test themselves on an honor system. 

The bill doesn't cover schools or public housing projects. 

The bill doesn't take the latest science into account. 

This is Vallone's Mistake because he has hocked his soul to landlords, and
wagered his ambition to be mayor on voters forgetting what happened yesterday. 

Last year, Vallone put in writing his promise not to weaken the laws
protecting poor kids from lead poisoning. Yesterday, with lead-poisoned
children sitting in the chamber, and their parents heckling the
politicians, this covenant with the poor was violated. 

Vallone double-crossed the infants and toddlers who live in the lead belt
from Bushwick to Hunts Point, and who have no lobbyists and no PACs. And
who did not choose to be born into deteriorated housing. I asked one
council member, who will probably vote with Vallone because he has been
threatened, to explain what I was seeing. I got this astute explanation: 

"This bill is partly [chief of staff] Bruce Bender's doing. Bruce hasn't
served Vallone well. He has proved he can force a flawed bill through by
making threats - warning us the speaker will ignore us forever if we vote
against it. 

"This bill is not in Vallone's best interest. He has made a political
mistake. Under the new public finance matching-fund law, all the candidates
for mayor will get the same amount from landlords. Peter will not get any
more money, but he will get fewer votes." 

A few minutes later, Vallone was denying this was a leadership vote. 

The landlord lobby is so cynical that it has recently gone to the Rent
Guidelines Board, arguing that landlords need rent increases because of
this lead bill they have helped write. But secretly, the lobby feels this
is a huge cost-saving victory. 

Last week, Roberto Ramirez, the Bronx Democratic leader, spoke the candid
truth about the politics behind the lead-paint bill. 

Ramirez said he urged the Bronx's council members to oppose the bill, but
that if Vallone made this a leadership vote, they would fold. 

This is a valuable civics lesson they don't teach you in schools. 

Politicians, even politicians of color, who know 90 percent of the city's
30,000 poisoned kids are of color, will do the right thing only until they
are ordered to do the wrong thing. 

As a result, about 15 of the original sponsors of Stanley Michels'
effective lead-poisoning bill will vote for Vallone's inferior bill next
week. You can't even trust your council member to vote for his own bill. 

Last year, Peter Vallone won 57 percent of the New York City vote in the
four-way Democratic primary for governor. I voted for him because I
foolishly believed the words he was saying. 

He was running on the slogan, "Children First," and on the issue of keeping
the Yankees in The Bronx. 

Today he is running for mayor under the banner of "Landlords First," while
keeping toxic lead in The Bronx. 

Shame on you, Peter. 


Can't Get the Lead Out 
Pols come up short on paint protection 
by Jim Dwyer
Daily News, June 25, 1999

Into a long afternoon hearing on a lead protection bill, the City Council
was morphing from one state to another so quickly it was hard to say
exactly who was in whose pocket.

A few members made brave pronouncements about "standing up for the
children," then were taken to a room on the side, beaten about the head and
came back with a clearer position. Rather than standing for the children,
they preferred to sit, or possibly squat.

After years of doing nothing about lead paint in apartment buildings, a new
law was rushed through the Housing Committee. It will be voted on by the
full Council next week.

"This is worse than doing nothing," said Stanley Michels, the city
councilman from Washington Heights.

The new bill does the following: 1) Gives building owners up to 226 days to
get rid of lead paint that's chipping or flaking; 2) Fails to use the test
recommended by Health Commissioner Neal Cohen to see if lead dust is
actually gone from the apartment; 3) Blocks children poisoned by lead paint
at home from suing the landlord.

Lead can poison anyone, but it so happens that most people who live in old
housing are black and Latino.

A few decades ago, lead paint was a terribly big problem, with one child in
10 poisoned by the heavy metal. The disabilities to young kids were very
serious, and probably cost the public hundreds of millions of dollars in
special education and medical costs.

Today, lead remains a terrible problem for children, but on a much smaller
scale. The use of lead paint has been banned since 1960.

In 1997, the Health Department reported slightly more than 1,000 cases of
lead poisoning citywide. The cases are concentrated in "lead belts" in
older, poorer sections of the city — central Brooklyn, Jamaica, Washington
Heights and parts of the Bronx.

The City Council has to make a new lead paint law, and it did so under the
supervision of its Housing Committee. Traditionally, legislation in that
committee is cleared by the real estate industry. For example, when an
earthquake code was written, Donald Trump had a few lines inserted that
exempted the biggest housing development in city history and saved himself
millions of dollars. When the Council changed the sprinkler laws, a few
words saved Trump and other big landlords the costs of putting sprinklers
in certain high-rise apartments.

Among the most important features of the lead paint bill to the landlords
was virtual immunity from lawsuits. Since the city has a meager housing
inspection program, about the most powerful incentive for keeping the lead
under control would be the threat of a lawsuit. Several lawyers who
specialize in suing over lead paint testified that the new law gutted that
protection. This angered the Housing Committee chairman, Archie Spigner.

"When the city's corporation counsel testified, he absolutely said that
they can still sue," said Spigner.

"He absolutely did not," hollered Michels.

"I had another hearing that day," said Helen Marshall, a councilwoman from
Queens and head of the black and Latino caucus. "Could we bring him back to
answer the question?"

"Sure," said Spigner.

A few witnesses later, Marshall noted that the city lawyer had not yet

"He's not coming," said Spigner. "We'll get him to meet with you privately."

"Aren't we going to vote now?" asked Marshall. 

"Well, that's true," said Spigner.

He called for a vote on legislation that had been slapped together, with
questions hanging in the air.

"This," said Spigner, "is an historical moment."

It was history on many levels. Too often, laws that respond to hazardous
materials become fiascos. The most destructive example is asbestos. In
1993, the school system was shut down over a nonexistent asbestos threat,
and $80 million wasted. Nearly all asbestos in buildings is best left alone. 

Similarly, the original laws about lead paint required its removal. Lead
paint is not dangerous if it's not chipping or turning to dust. The new
approach is to make sure the paint is intact and there are no children around.

The new law has none of those problems, since it is largely toothless.
Marshall, under pressure from Speaker Peter Vallone, voted the law out of
the committee but said she might vote no next week.

The point of leaning on Marshall, an intelligent and well-respected
councilwoman, is to break the back of the black and Latino caucus that she

No one would dare try that stunt if the lead were in bullets, rather than
dust. And if white cops were putting black or Latino children into rooms
with lead dust, damaging their brains and lives, you can bet that no one
would get away with the slop that was passed yesterday.

Original Publication Date: 06/25/1999 


New York Times
June 25, 1999
City Council Panel Approves Revised Safeguards Against Lead Paint

After a long day of public testimony and some tense back-room negotiations,
the City Council's housing and buildings committee approved legislation
Thursday afternoon to clarify the laws that are supposed to protect
children from poisoning caused by lead paint. 

The bill, which passed through the committee by a vote of 7 to 2, would
make the city responsible for correcting lead hazards whenever a landlord
fails to do so. But it would also severely limit the ability of
lead-poisoned children and their families to bring lawsuits seeking damages
from landlords or the city. 

The revised law would set rules that are intended to prevent lead
poisoning, requiring landlords to make annual visual inspections of any
apartment built before 1960 that is home to a child under age 6. 

The law would also set protocols and deadlines for correcting hazardous

The legislation had divided the Council in recent days, with many of the
rank and file Democrats calling it too lax and threatening to defy the
Council leadership by opposing it. An earlier lead bill, drafted by
Councilman Stanley E. Michels of Manhattan, had received wide support from
other Council members but was set aside by the Speaker, Peter F. Vallone,
in hopes of reaching a compromise with Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who
considered its requirements too onerous for both landlords and the city. 

Yesterday's committee vote suggested that some of the tensions in the
Council had been resolved and it seemed likely that the measure would be
passed into law on Wednesday, when the full 51-member Council is scheduled
to vote on it. 

But opponents of the bill, including Michels, vowed to fight, setting the
stage for heated debate on the Chamber floor. 

New York City is under orders from a State Supreme Court justice to either
rewrite the lead laws or begin enforcing the existing statute, which was
written in 1982 and is now considered outdated. The existing law calls for
the removal of all lead paint, which experts now believe poses greater
health risks than leaving the paint in place so long as it does not

The use of lead paint in homes was banned over 20 years ago, but more than
1,000 city children each year are found to have lead poisoning and as many
as 30,000 others, overwhelmingly in poor and minority communities where
housing is often in the poorest condition, may be contaminated. At the same
time, the city and landlords pay millions of dollars each year in abatement
costs and liability claims. 

The committee vote yesterday afternoon came after several weeks of intense
lobbying and negotiations between Vallone, the mayor and a host of
advocates representing landlords, tenants, children, the environment, the
real estate industry, trial lawyers, co-op and condominium owners and others. 

Anticipating the outcome of yesterday's vote, Vallone praised the bill even
as the public hearing dragged on yesterday. "I think it will satisfy the
problem that faces the city of New York: how do you make buildings with
lead safe for children?" 

The bill included several amendments that were made after a 10-hour public
hearing on Monday. 

One amendment would require landlords to conduct a so-called clearance test
to insure that lead hazards involving wood trim, windows or doors are
corrected safely. The tests, which check for lead dust with damp cloths,
had been one of the most highly contested aspects of the bill: Landlords
called the tests expensive and inaccuate; children's advocates said they
were crucial measures of quality control. 

At his daily news conference, before yesterday's vote, Mayor Giuliani
called the bill "a reasonable, sensible compromise." 

He said: "It achieves safety for responsible people. It sets up a system of
liability that's reasonable for people that aren't doing what they should
do. It has the city inspecting as it should." He added, "So I think the
bill is a good bill." 

After the vote, Deputy Mayor Joseph J. Lhota praised the result. "This is a
bill that will help the children of the city of New York," he said. Lhota
said that the city budget approved last month had taken into account the
prospect of added expenses related to the lead legislation. City officials
estimated that meeting the requirements of the law in its first year would
cost the city about $40 million. 

But opponents of the bill spoke morosely of the result. Michels rebuked his
fellow members of the housing committee. "I believe this is a tragic
mistake," he said, as the roll call came to his turn. "What we're doing
here is disgraceful." He said more children would be harmed by lead dust as
a result of the law. 

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Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 07:27:55 -0400
Subject: RGB: Rents to go up 2% and 4%

Tenants Online             6/25/99 (part 2 Rent Guidelines Board)
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In this issue...

1. City Board Approves Increases for Rent-Stabilized Apartments (NYT)
2. Board OKs 2% Rent Hike (Daily News)


June 25, 1999
New York Times
City Board Approves Increases for Rent-Stabilized Apartments 

The New York City Rent Guidelines Board voted 5 to 4 last night to approve
a 2 percent increase for one-year leases and a 4 percent increase for
two-year leases on rent-stabilized apartments, the same increases approved
for four of the last five years. 

The board sets rent increases for the approximately one million New York
City apartments in buildings operating under rent stabilization, whose
rules date back to 1943. 

The vote by the board reflects a staff recommendation in May for 2 to 4
percent increases, which are tied to the Price Index of Operating Costs, a
landlord price index compiled by the city. That measure, which reflects
costs like heating oil, was 0.03 percent last year, down from 0.13 percent
in 1997. Landlords criticize the index because they say it does not reflect
long-term costs. 

The meeting began with a protracted debate among board members, who include
two landlord representatives and two tenant representatives, and was
punctuated by the jeering of tenant advocates, who made up the majority of
the hundred or so audience members and continually yelled, "Jerk,"
"Sleazy," and "You're insane!" 

Edward S. Hochman, 46, the chairman of the rent guidelines board, expressed
frustration with both the debate and the loud protest. 

"The numbers legitimately made for a narrow range," Mr. Hochman said in an
interview during a recess, referring to the landlord price index. "It was
never going to go below 0 and never go above 2 percent for one-year leases,
and never go below 1 and never go above 4 percent for two years. But
tonight was like the Battle of Stalingrad, where the battle loses any real
military purpose." 

Mr. Hochman requested that two police officers stand at attention in front
of the stage at the Grand Hall of Cooper Union and had a third officer
circulate through the audience to request quiet. 

Vincent S. Castellano, 37, a landlord and real estate broker from the
Rockaways, in Queens, who is one of two landlord representatives on the
board, said, "If you can't raise rents when economic times are good, when
tenants are working, when income is going up, then when would you suggest
we raise rents?" 

Mr. Castellano cited city statistics that 116,000 jobs were created last
year and personal income, adjusted for inflation, rose 3.5 percent.
Meanwhile, apartment buildings continue to age, repairs continue to mount
and become more expensive and the city government continues to impose new
requirements, like fire sprinklers and removal of lead paint, he said. 

David D. Pagan, 55, a tenant representative on the board and an
administrator at the Southside United Housing Development Fund Corporation
in Brooklyn, said the board vote was "extremely disappointing." He said the
landlord price index was "next to nothing, and we were willing to give a
little on the second year." He had proposed a 0 percent increase for
one-year leases and 1.8 percent for two-year leases. 


Board OKs 2% Rent Hike 
Daily News Staff Writer, June 25, 1999

Tenants in 1 million rent-stabilized apartments will face 2% rent hikes
under a plan that won final approval yesterday from the city Rent
Guidelines Board.

Starting Oct. 1, rent hikes will be capped at 2% for one-year lease
renewals and 4% for two years.

For tenants paying $500 a month or less, landlords will be able to tack on
an extra $15 in rent. Also, for the first time, the board set a $215
minimum rent for stabilized units.

The 2% and 4% caps match the record lows that have been set in four of the
last five years. The panel rejected calls from tenants who said the
increase was too much and from landlords who said it was too little.

Tenant groups had been pushing for a rent freeze after the board released
reports showing landlords' maintenance costs essentially flat and net
income rising 11%.

"There's absolutely no justification for the rent increases," tenant
advocate Jenny Laurie of the Metropolitan Council on Housing told the panel.

Landlords said they needed a bigger rent hike to compensate for years of
higher inflation.

They also said they needed more to cover the costs of compliance with new
fire-safety rules and a possible change in the city's lead-paint law.

Original Publication Date: 06/25/1999 

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sensitive. Then go to TenantNet's web page at and insert
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activists and is not considered legal advice.

Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 21:02:10 -0400
Subject: Lead Paint Update 6/26/99

Tenants Online                                            6/26/99
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In this issue...

1. Why Rush to Pass a Bad Lead Bill on June 30th?
2. How Vallone bill guts protection for 1 & 2 family homes
3. What's Wrong with the Peter Vallone Lead Paint Bill



There is a widespread myth that a "new" court order in the 14-year-long
case of New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning ("NYCCELP") v.
Giuliani compels a vote by the City Council by the end of June. 

To the contrary, there have been a long series of Court orders, which
became final and no longer appealable as long ago as 1991, imposing
obligations on the City to write regulations for timely enforcement of
Local Law # 1. (Contrary to published reports, these orders do not command
the City Council to "rewrite the laws"). 

The City has already been held in contempt for failing to obey those orders
three times and has been paying monthly fines for those contempts since as
far back as 1994. This is nothing new, nor has the Court issued any order
directing action by the end of June. At present, these fines amount to only
$4,727.61 per month! 

Instead, the administration manufactured a false crisis. Last January, the
(New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning) NYCCELP plaintiffs
volunteered to stay enforcement of all the outstanding Court orders through
the end of April -- including further contempt fines -- so that the
litigation would not be used as an excuse for a hurried, ill-considered
adoption of alternative legislation. When the City later asked for an
extension through the end of June, plaintiffs offered unconditionally to
extend it to October 15. The City refused that offer, and insisted the stay
run only through June 30th! 

The NYCCELP plaintiffs have repeatedly stated their continued willingness
to extend the stay well into the autumn to give the Council time for a
reasoned consideration and debate on new legislation. NYCCELP urges the
Councilmembers to urge that the City to accept this unconditional offer. 

But even if the City refuses to accept this offer and the stay ends, the
consequences are minimal. Either the City will: 

   1. merely resume paying the contempt fines of just $4,727.61 per month, or 

   2. issue rules to comply with the orders to enforce Local Law #1. However, 
      even the rules themselves provide that they do not go into effect for
30 days. 

Our City's children are the future. There's no reason for Councilmembers to
rush to judgment and vote for a bill that has not been fully considered and
does not adequately protect our City's children. 

Provided by NMIC Legal Services, counsel to the New York City Coalition to
End Lead Poisoning. For more information, call 212-822-8309.



Under current law, if a child is found to have a blood lead level of 20
micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or higher, the Department of Health (DoH)
is required to inspect for lead paint and order its removal with five days.
Health Code § 173.13(d)(2) 

If the owner fails to remove the lead violations within 5 days, Health Code
§ 173.13(d)(2) requires that DoH request HPD to execute the order, pursuant
to the power granted in § 17-147 of the Administrative Code. 

Admin. Code § 17-147 gives DoH authority to order other city agencies to
respond to DoH orders if the owner fails to do so. However, § 17-147 itself
has no timeframes for compliance. 

The timeframes are found, instead, in § 27-2126 of the Admin. Code, which
currently provides: 

   "If the owner fails to comply with an order of the department 
   of health to correct the violation, the department of health 
   shall certify such conditions to [HPD]. The procedure of 
   certification shall be completed within sixteen days from 
   receipt of complaint or inspection or examination, whichever 
   occurs first. The conditions so certified shall be corrected 
   within eighteen days of certification to the department."

Thus, under the current scheme, DoH violations -- which are only placed
where a child is already lead poisoned -- must be corrected by the City
with a total of 34 days after the inspection if the landlord fails to do so. 

The Vallone bill would amend § 27-2126 by, among other things, inserting
language to limit its applicability to only multiple dwellings (i.e.,
buildings with 3 or more units). Thus, where children who have the
misfortune to be lead poisoned reside in one or two family dwellings, there
would no longer be any mandatory timeframes for the City to remove the lead
violations where bad landlords ignore City orders! Nor would these children
have any ability to bring an Article 78 proceeding to force the repairs to
be done. 

Many, many children who are lead poisoned reside in one or two family
dwellings. In fact, there may be more likely to be poisoned in the first
place, since Local Law # 1 never applied to those buildings. 

Thus, Vallone's bill removes the limited protection these children had
under the existing law once they were poisoned. These are the children who
need the most protection, because they are already poisoned. THESE FAMILIES

Provided by NMIC Legal Services, counsel to the New York City Coalition to
End Lead Poisoning. For more information, call 212-822-8309.



- Limits lead hazards to only peeling lead paint - no duty on landlords to
prevent poisoning from lead dust, from chewable surfaces, or from abrasion
(painted windows opening and closing, etc.), or to regularly inspect for
lead dust. Kids will have no protection from lead dust, and no remedies if

- Removed legal obligation that landlords ensure apartments are safe for
children to live in. 

- Ignores building problems that cause lead paint to peel (water leaks, etc.). 

- Lead paint violations - the most dangerous - will now be the most
difficult to enforce! 

   - Allows violations to remain as long as 226 days from the date of a
tenant's complaint. 

   - Landlords are immune from penalties for violations or claims for 
     injuries by simply denying the tenant told them about lead paint hazards! 

- Ignores common areas. 

- Landlords' investigation for the presence of young children is modelled
on the old window guard law - which failed! 

- Shifts the burden from Landlords to Tenants to know about lead hazards in
the dwelling. 

- No real requirements that landlords retain any written records of
inspections. No penalties for noncompliance. 

- Guts existing Department of Health (DoH) safety rules for lead paint
repairs (which were based on federal HUD and EPA practices and documented

- Encourages quick and dirty work practices over safe ones existing under
the current Health Code. And no penalties for non-compliance with even
these watered down practices! 

- Fails to require clearance dust tests after repairs of peeling lead paint
on walls or ceilings! 

   - Limited clearance dust tests for windows, doors, and wood trim - 
   but no requirement that results be given to HPD or tenants, no 
   requirement of independent testing (landlord can test), no requirement 
   that test results be kept. 

- Eliminates current mandatory timeframes for corrections of lead paint
conditions by the City in homes of already lead poisoned children where
landlords fail to do so in 1 or 2 family homes. 

- Eliminates ability of lead poisoned children - over 90% of which are
Black, Hispanic, or other children of color - to sue for their injuries,
thus depriving them of their rights and removing any incentive for
landlords to take their obligations seriously. These children will now have
to prove the landlord knew the peeling paint in old buildings was lead paint! 

- Fails to give tenants notice of their rights and obligations 

- Fails to require HPD to inquire for presence of children whenever an
inspection takes place, and if so, to look for peeling paint 

- Fails to address lead paint in schools and day care centers 

- Uniformly opposed by every expert in the field of lead poisoning
prevention, and by a wide spectrum of public health, medical, tenant,
environmental, civil rights, education, community, parent, religious,
political, and labor organizations and leaders. 

- Rushed through in the dead of night with no opportunity for meaningful
public review, and violates Vallone's campaign promise not to "weaken[] the
laws that protect children from the dangers of lead poisoning." 

- Will result in many more children being lead poisoned (right now 30,000 a
year), and weakened or no remedies. 

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Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 19:37:24 -0400
Subject: Lead Vote on Wed. - Time to Get off the Pot 6/28/99

Tenants Online                                            6/28/99
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In this issue...

1. What You Should Do (Part 1 -- Cut the Bullshit)
2. New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, Inc. (NYCOSH)
3. What You Should Do - Key Council Members to Contact (Part 2)
4. Here's Lead in Your Teeth (Nutrition News Focus)


Time to get off your duff. 

Despite mountains of pressure, Peter Vallone caters to his buddy landlords
by pushing through the "Landlord Protection Bill" -- AKA the "Peter Vallone
Lead Paint Bill" -- last week in the City Council Housing and Buildings

The full City Council is expected to vote on the measure in Wednesday's
City Council meeting.

Some in the Housing and Buildings Committee, like chair Archie Spigner, are
allied with Vallone and the Landlords. Others (like Helen Marshall) appear
to be taking the cowardly. Despite being co-chair of the Black and Latino
Caucus, she is bowing to Vallone's threats of the loss of committee chair
position or her Member Items.

On an item like this, it may be that more Council Members might show a
little independence. This is not the Air Train or Eighth Avenue, where they
can hide their cowardly faces. This is about kids and poison. Tell that to
Vallone regulars like Walter McCaffrey and June Eisland. (McCaffrey is
considering running for Queens Borough President, Public Advocate or
Congress). Tell that to Kathryn Freed and Steve DiBrienza who are both
considering running for Public Advocate. Tell that to Ken Fisher who is
running for Mayor. 

Please take an hour tomorrow and call the council members on the list
below. Fax them. Go to their office. You can be polite and discuss the
"talking points" below. But the merits of either approach really don't
matter now.

What matters is that the public will embarass them for what they are doing
to children. If they tell you it's "the best we can do" you can call them
liars. "The best we can do" is a well-known code word meaning they are
afraid of Peter Vallone. Should they be afraid of the increase in lead
paint poisoning, the parents, the public?


>From the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and 
Health, Inc. (NYCOSH)

Vol. IV, No. 11
Monday, June 28, 1999
A fax update from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and
Health, Inc.


Wednesday, June 30, the New York City Council is scheduled to vote
on legislation which will pose a serious threat to the health of children
and workers.  I am writing to ask that you fax and call members of the City
Council today and/or tomorrow and demand that they vote against the
so-called "Childhood Lead Prevention Act."  A model letter and talking
points are enclosed.  Also you will find a list of Councilmembers who need
to be contacted and their phone and fax numbers.

The enactment of this bill will increase - not reduce - lead
poisoning among the children of this city ­ particularly children of 
immigrants, low-wage workers and people of color.  More children are likely
to become lead poisoned if this bill passes because it allows landlords 21
days after receiving a lead paint hazard violation from the City in which
they can ignore the existing Department of Health safety regulations for
lead paint abatement.  These regulations set clean-up standards for
controlling toxic lead dust and chips while removing peeling paint.  If
these safety regulations are ignored children will become poisoned and
workers will be exposed to hazardous levels of lead dust.  

Exposure of  children to lead dust can cause permanent brain
injuries, loss of intelligence, learning disabilities or behavioral
disorders.  Recent research has clearly demonstrated that exposure of
children to even minute amounts of lead dust can lead to permanent damage
to a child's mental development.  Workers doing lead paint clean up are
also at risk for serious health problems resulting from exposure to lead

The proposed law also does not require basic training in lead
safety for workers performing paint repair and does not prescribe safe work
practices.  Except in extremely limited circumstances, the bill fails to
require landlords to perform clearance testing when the repair work is
finished and it does not require that the test be performed by an
independent third party.   This testing is needed to ensure that the
apartment has not been contaminated by lead dust. Furthermore, the bill
drastically circumscribes the rights of lead poisoned children to sue the
landlords who are responsible for the hazardous condition, and shifts the
burden for reporting lead hazards onto tenants. 
The proposed legislation must be defeated unless it is amended to
include the following points:

- Work which disturbs lead-based paint should be immediately subject
to the requirements of section 173.14 of the New York City Health Code,
"Safety standards for lead-based paint abatement."

- "Prep work," which has been documented to generate extremely high
lead levels, should be subject to safety regulations. 

- Require training in lead safety for all workers doing paint repair
in pre-1960 buildings.

- Require clearance tests, conducted by an independent third party,
to confirm that the work has been done safely.  This is necessary because
lead-contaminated dust can be invisible to the naked eye.  Consequently,
all references to "visual" inspections for dust should be deleted.  

- Landlords should be required to maintain specific records regarding
the abatement dates, location, description, methods and contractors.

- Provision must be made for the Department of Health to rigorously
enforce the law and stringent penalties should be levied against landlords
who fail to comply with all sections of the law.

- Nothing in the bill should impinge upon the rights of a
lead-poisoned child to sue his/her  landlord or the City, either in its
role as regulator or as owner.

There are many other problems with this bill which limit the
responsibilities of landlords to provide tenants with lead-safe housing. 
This bill bends so far to protect landlords at the expense of tenants and
lead-poisoned children that New York City Councilmember Stanley Michels,
Chairman of the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee, has
called this bill the "Landlord Protection Act."  

Exposure to lead is one of the oldest occupational hazards.  Like
other occupational and environmental hazards it is preventable.  Failure to
prevent exposure to this hazard will subject our city's children to 
serious health consequences which will dramatically reduce the quality of
their lives and place a burden on the social and financial resources of our
City by requiring special educational programs, additional social and
psychological services as well as increased welfare costs.  

Action is needed today if the bill is to be stopped.  Thank you for
your consideration and prompt attention to this matter.

Joel Shufro
Executive Director


Please contact the following members of the New York City Council
concerning the so-called "Childhood Lead Prevention" bill.  The City
Council vote is scheduled for Wednesday, June 30.  

Council member     District office no.        City Hall office no.

Tracy Boyland      718-345-3110 (district)    212-788-7387 (city hall)       
Brownsville        718-498-8807 (fax)

Adolpho Carrion    718-584-6955 (district)    212-788-7250 (city hall)
West/Central Bronx 718-584-5725 (fax)

Una Clarke         718-287-8762 (district)    212-788-7352 (city hall)  
Crown Heights/Flatbush   718-493-8285 (fax)

Lucy Cruz          718-518-7110 (district)    212-788-7389 (city hall)  
SE Bronx           718-518-7016 (fax)

June Eisland       718-549-0158 (district)    212-788-7084 (city hall)  
Riverdale          718-549-6983 (fax)              

Pedro Espada       718-402-7602 (district)    212-788-6956 (city hall)       
Port Morris, S. Bronx   718-402-7602 (fax)

Stephen Fiala      718-984-5151 (district)    212-788-7381 (city hall)  
Staten Island      718-984-5737 (fax)              

Ken Fisher         718-875-5200 (district)    212-788-6981 (city hall)  
Brooklyn Hts/Park Slope   718-643-6620  (fax)

Wendell Foster     718-588-7500 (district)    212-788-6853 (city hall)
  SW Bronx, Yankee Stad.   718-588-7790 (fax)

Kathryn Freed      212-788-7722 (district)    same                           
Lower Manhattan    212-788-7727 (fax)

Julia Harrison     718-886-7040 (district)                                
Flushing           718-359-4973 (fax)

Lloyd Henry        718-421-6621 (district)    212-788-7286 (city hall)  
Flatbush           718-421-6625 (fax)

Karen Koslowitz    718-544-3212 (district)    212-788-7066 (city hall)       
Forest Hills       718-261-5022 (fax)

Howard Lasher      718-266-2000 (district)    212-788-7095 (city hall)       
Coney Is., Gravesend   718-266-0309 (fax)

Sheldon Leffler    718-465-8202 (district)    212-788-6850 (city hall)       
Hollis             718-776-2302 (fax)

Martin Malave-Dilan  718-453-4674(distr.)     212-788-7284 (city hall)  
Bushwick             718-453-4727 (fax)   

Helen Marshall       718-507-0813 (district)  212-788-7366 (city hall)       
East Elmhurst        718-507-1840 (fax)

Walter McCaffrey    718-639-1400 (district)   212-788-6957 (city hall)  
Maspeth             718-899-1294 (fax)

Gifford Miller      212-535-5554 (district)   212-788-6873 (city hall)        
Upper East Side     212-535-6098 (fax)

Michael Nelson      718-743-8610 (district)                                
Midwood             718-743-5958 (fax)

Jerome O'Donovan    718-727-9730 (district)   212-788-7098 (city hall)  
Staten Island       718-816-8407 (fax)

Bill Perkins        212-662-4440 (district)   212-788-7397 (city hall)  
Central Harlem      212-932-1130 (fax)
Mary Pinkett        718-857-0959 (district)   212-788-7007 (city hall)  
Fort Greene         718-857-5524 (fax)      

Martin Povman       718-793-2255 (district)   212-788-7078 (city hall)       
Forest Hills        718-268-3499 (fax)

Madeline Provenzano 718-931-6060 (dist.)      212-788-7074 (city hall)  
Bronx               718-518-8443 (fax)

Phil Reed           212-828-9800 (district)   212-788-6960 (city hall)  
Park West/E. Harlem 212-722-6378 (fax)

Jose Rivera         718-364-3700 (district)   212-788-6966 (city hall)  
Central Bronx       718-365-5267 (fax)

Annette Robinson    718-399-8900 (district)   212-788-7375 (city hall)  
Bedford Stuy/C Brooklyn   718-399-6099 (fax)

Victor Robles       718-963-3141 (district)   212-788-6856 (city hall)       
Williamsburg        718-963-4527 (fax)      

Angel Rodriguez     718-436-2215 (district)   212-788-7372 (city hall)       
Sunset Park         718-436-2656 (fax)

John Sabini         718-507-3688 (district)   212-788-6972 (city hall)  
Jackson Hts         718-507-2982 (fax)

Lawrence Warden     718-994-9951 (district)   212-788-7384 (city hall)
Wakefield           718-994-9956 (fax)

Juanita Watkins     718-527-4356 (district)   212-788-7250 (city hall)       
Laurelton           718-527-4402 (fax)

Thomas White, Jr.   718-322-6121 (district)   212-788-6963 (city hall)  
Jamaica/Rockaway    718-322-6125 (fax)

Priscilla Wooten    718-272-3050 (district)   212-788-6859 (city hall)  
Brooklyn            718-927-2584 (fax)


1.  The City Council has acted precipitously. The bill has been rushed
through without adequate discussion or hearings. (A hearing was called for
Monday, June 21st on Thursday evening June 17th at 6 PM. The bill was not
distributed until Friday afternoon, June 18th). There has not been
adequate discussion of complex technical issues, let alone the issues of
public health policy.

2.  There is no need for the Council to act precipitously. The Court order
which the City claims will go into effect on July 1 requiring the City to
enforce the old lead law can be postponed so negotiations can proceed. The
City is refusing to change the deadline to create an artificial crisis.

3.  The bill is an attempt to do several things:

A.  Allow landlords to avoid liability.  Essentially eliminates
ability of lead-poisoned children ­ over 90% of whom are black, Hispanic,
or other children of color ­ to sue for injuries.

B.  Allows landlords to avoid regulations for lead abatement work
promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency.  No training is
required for workers conducting lead abatement work.

C.  Shifts burden from landlords to tenants to keep apartments

D.  Permits landlords to perform abatement work without conducting
clearance testing to determine whether job was done correctly.  In the few
instances where a clearance test is required, landlords can do it

E.  Allows landlords 21 days following a citation by the City for a
lead paint hazard to abate the hazard using work practices far less
stringent than those promulgated by the New York City Department of Health
­ thereby creating an incentive for landlords to do sloppy work.

4.  It is very easy to do lead work improperly and create a situation in
which exposure to lead dust may be greater than prior to abatement.  This
bill creates the potential, as well as the probability, that there will be
increased exposure to lead dust by both children and workers.  If the
authors of the bill were serious about preventing lead exposure, they would
require appropriate training for workers who will do the work.  Currently,
the bill does not require landlords or contractors to provide appropriate

5.  The long-term costs of lead exposure are daunting.  Their health and
lives of lead-poisoned children will be stunted.  They will suffer serious
neurological damage and endure learning disabilities, lowered IQ, and
behavioral problems.  There are long term costs to taxpayers who will be
forced to pay for remedial educational programs and other social and health

5.  Vote no on Vallone's "Childhood Lead Prevention" bill.


June 28, 1999
Today's Topic: Here's Lead in Your Teeth

A well known symptom of lead poisoning is impaired mental development.
But a new report in the June 23, 1999 Journal of the American Medical
Association found that children with high blood lead levels are also
more likely to develop cavities in their teeth

(If this address is longer than one line, you will have to type it
into your browser.) Most of the news media covered this story
extensively upon its publication.

Twenty-five thousand American children aged 2 and older were studied.
The authors estimated that 10-15% of cavities in teeth were
attributable to lead exposure. But because less than one percent of
children have elevated blood lead levels, those with high levels may
have many cavities as a result of lead exposure. Although this finding
may represent another reason to reduce lead exposure, it does not
present particularly compelling evidence because observational
studies like this cannot prove cause and effect nor can it control
all factors. Children with higher blood lead are poorer, may consume
less calcium, may not visit a dentist as often, etc.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: While nothing good can be said
about lead and human health, this study is not a reason to panic. Most
dental cavities are the result of sticky, sugary foods combined with
the right bacteria in the mouth. Good dental hygiene is also much more
important than lead exposure.

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