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Eerily quiet this time around

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Eerily quiet this time around

Postby CityRat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 10:16 am

The pending expiration of the rent laws should be the top story on all local news media. It should have people talking about nothing else. What the hell is going on? Is the media bought and paid for by the powers that be? The top story on the local news is about a mazing at an elementary school graduation? WTF? I notice that most people around me don't even realize what's going on. You want to talk to them about it and you get blank looks. Those are the people who listen to and read the local media outlets, the people who would normally be stirred up about it. And they don't seem to care about the urgency of the rent issue, that is if they are even aware of it. Have the media been bought off to keep things quiet so that the laws will be allowed to quietly expire? The uninformed attitudes around me are frightening. It's hard to find anything about the issue at all wherever you turn. WTF is going on here?
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby nycat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 10:46 am

The media haven't been bought and paid for, it just appears that they don't see rent laws in the same light as issues such as tax cuts for the wealthy or persciption drug costs. The "Times" has taken a nuetral stance while the "Post" is downright hostile to rent protections. What is surprising is that publications such as the "Voice" haven't run anything at all on the issue. Are the people who live in rent controled and stabilized apartments the only ones who want the laws extended? If so, we are in the minority in NYC (and shrinking by the day). The people who don't live in regulated apartments are either paying market rent (and they may resent their neighbors with regulated rents), or are homeowners who simply may not care one way or the other about the laws. Whatever the answer is, it appears that they don't see it as an important social issue. Maybe this will change when seniors and working class families are evicted wholesale from their homes, but by then it will be to late.

If the laws are renewed as is, TenantNet is right about the protections being history eventually. It may take longer than ten years, but the number of regulated apartments can only go down, along with our power to maintain protections.
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby CityRat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 11:07 am

Cat,

the apathetic people I'm talking about ARE rent-stabilized people. Were you aroung in 1997? You can't convince me that something off-kilter is not going on this time around. Those few who do show a sign of life on the issue have been just as disturbed as I about the silence in the media. It's not just me.

All along I've shrugged the issue off and taken it as a positive sign that we don't hear much about it. After all, in this economy and with so much other stuff going on, it would be unrealistic and cause major chaos to let the laws expire. Now it seems that the silence is not a good thing, but a bad thing. If people are not involved, the powers in charge can feel free to do whatever they want without the threat of opposition.

You are right, by the time most people begin to give a rat's behind, it will be too late. That's why it's so weird that the local media is mute. This is a major issue that affects one million apartments=several million people.

They are pushing a week of upcoming rain as a major news story on the radio, etc. That doesn't strike you as odd?? I've read some of your other posts, and I am a little surprised that you seem to have had an attitude change of sorts. You seemed much more concerned before.
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby HardKnocks » Thu Jun 19, 2003 11:11 am

The Post is a right-wing rag, so what do you expect?

I just hope they don't lower the threshold to $1500, which is merely average rent for this city nowadays. If you want "luxury," you'll have to fork over quite a bit more than that.

I also wish that Albany, so out of touch with what's going on in the city, didn't play such a big role in this. I guess to them, $1500 means you're living in a palace. Please. It doesn't even get you a dishwasher here.

But TenantNet is right... we have to start thinking about packing our bags. I know I'm not alone in that my rent is well over half my monthly salary as it stands. If we lose our remaining protections, I'll have to leave NYC. Is that what they want?
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby nycat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 11:33 am

City Rat,

I'm still concerned, but it appears that my main concern-that the laws would just lapse-was unfounded. When I first started posting on the issue I was thinking that the Republicans had all the power on this issue, but as TenantNet pointed out this isn't being decided in a vaccuum and the Dems can use other issues the Repubs care about to get the laws extended for another three years.
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby CityRat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 11:42 am

I assumed all along that the laws would not "just lapse". Didn't give it much thought at all. At the heart of the issue seems to be the vacancy decontrol of apartments $2000.00 and up, and maybe lowering this figure. It seemed to be implied that the lower-rent, existing tenants didn't have too much to worry about. Now, I understand that, if they don't come to an agreement on the vacancy decontrol/$2000.00 issue by tonight, ALL the laws would expire as a result. Or perhaps they would string us along in limbo for months to come, "extending" the laws for short, unsatisfying time perionds, which in my opinion is not an acceptable situation for tenants.
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby MikeW » Thu Jun 19, 2003 11:56 am

Cat, I'd still be concerned. While the latest scuttlebutt has a straight up, unchanged renewal, why drag it out just for that?

As far as the whole low keyness of this whole renewal process, I think it may have been engineered that way. Last time around, the Republicans came out directly saying that it was time for regulation to end. That kicked up enough of a furor that they ended up caving in. This time around, maybe they decided to take the stealth approach. Up until June it was like "we want to protect tenants, we don't want to get rid of regulation". Suddenly, in June, it's "we want to keep the laws, but weaken them a little". Tonight, it could be "We tryed, but we could reach a deal with the Democrats, so we're sorry, but the laws are expired, and the session is over. Maybe we'll look at it again in the fall".

Sometimes people who play chicken do want a car wreck. I wouldn't doubt it in this case.
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby CityRat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 12:10 pm

Mike,

I share your impression that the silence this time was "engineered", perhaps by the Republicans. But why are the media so quiet about it? That's what got me wondering if the local media are bought and paid for (by the Repubs and/or their henchmen).

You know and I know that with much lesser issues concerning "the little guy" the Post, the Daily News, NY1, all the local networks, etc. etc. are all over the issues, often making worse waves than the issue warrants in an attempt to get ratings.

The silence in this case seems to work. People talk about the weather, not realizing that a cardboard box gets soggy really fast, and the weather might become a REAL issue for many of us soon enough.
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby CityRat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 12:23 pm

It's also occurred to me that in recent weeks and months it has been a very slow newsday. You would think the media would grasp at any straw to come up with something "sensational" that gets people stirred up. They stretched the milk crate incident literally over weeks. The elementary school macing indcident is on the front page of the NYT metro section for the second day in a row. On radio stations this morning the top news was the rainy weather. I could go on.

How, in this lame media climate, they can be so mum about the rent issue is beyond me. This should be just the thing that's up their ally, especially the tabloids. I wonder how much the landlords and their representatives/groups have put in the pockets of those who run the media...
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby CityRat » Thu Jun 19, 2003 12:40 pm

Another thought: Remember the big and lenghty media fuss about the 50 cent increase in subway fares? You would have thought it was the end of the world, when in reality it is a relatively minor inconvenience and nothing more than that. But the media got people stirred up about it but good. And now that many of these same people could literally be put out of house and home -- silence. Crickets chirping. Whatever few things you hear in the media are worded in an eerily neutral tone. Where are the editorials? Very creepy. On a bigger issue, it shows how the media controls the reins of what the public thinks is important. Creepy.
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Re: Eerily quiet this time around

Postby MikeW » Thu Jun 19, 2003 4:52 pm

I can't say I really know why the media is disinterested. One guess is this. The media make money by selling advertising. Each media outlet has its target audience. For alot of the outlets, regulated renters are either too small an audience and/or not who they want to reach. I tend to think that the local media, especially TV, tends to concentrate more on issues that effect higher disposable income suburbanites. FWIW, the post, while having a conservative bent, seems to be giving the whole issue the most coverage. This may be that regulated renters are a significant part of the Post's readership.

Also, early on, it looked like this was going to be a minor event. Both sides would scuffle a little, but things would end up pretty much the same. It still may end up that way, and the media still seem to be treating it as such. Pretty boring stuff. Remember this opera plays out in a fairly regular cycle, especially when you lump the annual RGB shennanigans into the mix.

If the laws actually expire, and stay expired long enough to have some bite (defined as ex-regulated renters seeing big increases and/or evictions), THEN the media might get more interested, since the story would be more interesting. By then it would probably be too late.

The one outlet that has shocked me with its disinterst is the Voice. They really could seem to care less, which, given their lefty leanings, is a more than a bit strange.
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