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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Democrats to Control State Senate - What We Must Do

A face you can trust? State Senator Tom Duane (D).

The election is over. Next year the Democrats will control the State Senate. According to the frequent pronouncements from State Senator Tom Duane (who at tenant meetings would repeatedly raise his index finger--1--to state what was needed for Dem control of the Senate and salvation), this will mean that pro-tenant legislation will get passed and that we will have a tenant friendly Senate representing us. Stuy Town Reporter will try to stay positive for now, and take Duane and other Democrats at their word. But in order for them to be reminded of their promises, it's good to call or e-mail them every once in a while, beginning with now.

This is what we have been promised:

1) The repeal the Urstadt Law (which would place rent decisions back in the hands of the city, rather than the state)
2) A reversal of vacancy decontrol laws
3) The abolishment of MCIs that result in perpetual rent increases

In a Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village tenants' meeting on October 19, this was part of the exchange between tenants and Duane and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh:

Speaker #1: Senator Duane, how quickly will we see a repeal of the Urstadt Act?

Senator Duane: If Democrats succeed in winning the State Senate, it should happen in the first term.

Speaker #2: The law regarding MCIs (Major Capital Improvements) is flawed. There is a reverse incentive for doing things economically, because the more you spend on a project the more you can charge back to tenants. You could let a property run down completely and get an MCI to improve it and benefit from it. Also, regarding the rent exceeding $2,000 with a household income of $175,000; there have been contradictions. Please explain.

Duane: Up until now it has been slow going working with the DHCR [the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, which handles MCIs] but the Democratic Minority has been working with Senate Majority members on trying to reform the regulations on MCIs. Let me say that with Democrats in the majority, we would have more influence with the Governor’s agencies because the Majority would be controlling their budgets.

Assemblyman Kavanagh: The household income has to be $175,000 for two consecutive years. With a strong Democratic Majority in the Senate, we expect to be able to change that. The cut off rent would be increased and the household income would be raised to around $325,000. There would also be a very strong bill to change MCIs from permanent to temporary.

These are the contact e-mails:

Getting pro-tenant legislation passed is imperative. Otherwise, the middle-class will be completely driven out of the city (certainly Manhattan), neighborhoods will disappear, and all we will be left with are sliver condos dotted on the ground floors with Starbucks, banks, and mega drug stores. Don't let this happen to our city!

Next year it will be imperative to also get rid of Mayor Bloomberg. Not only did the Mayor spit with complete disregard on democracy (along with 29 city council members), but he is pals with real estate developers, including Jerry and Rob Speyer, who are running Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (into the ground). In fact, the New York real estate website, THE REAL DEAL, reported that Jerry Speyer is a "frequent advisor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg." No wonder Bloomberg took a drop-dead Stuy Town/Peter Cooper hands-off approach to the sale of this complex. As long as Bloomberg is in office, we will continue to be screwed as middle-class tenants. Get this lying and manipulative Boston-born and bred bum out of office!


AnnieMae said...

Tishman Speyer gets away with a lot of illegal activity and we all know why. They have Bloomberg's blessings to do whatever they want, no matter how abusive, to the residents of Stuyvesant Town in order to make our lives unbearable and prompt us to move out. These people are evil to the bone.

Daniel said...

I support tenant rights because I am a tenant. But I must say that I don't believe anyone has the RIGHT to live in New York City. Furthermore, how can anyone claim to be "middle class" that is earning $175k or more? If everyone is fighting to raise that number to $300k+ a year--sounds like a bunch of rich brats trying to have it both ways--high income and low rent. The reason this city is so damn expensive to live in is because of low supply and high demand. The low supply is a direct result of rent control.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Because Manhattan is Manhattan, I think that even the absence of rent control may not significantly lower rent prices. The world wants to live here. I agree that 300K is pushing it to be considered middle class--well, it's perhaps the upper middle class. My concern is that the true middle class is rapidly disappearing from Manhattan, as are neighborhoods with a unique character.

Daniel said...

Middle class is not disappearing from New York City--remember that the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn are all included in "New York City."
The median income in the Bronx is $30,000. Queens is not much higher and many parts of Brooklyn are also very low. There are thousands of affordable apartments out there...they just might not be on Manhattan island. Not to mention the rest of the country is affordable compared to Manhattan. I agree that Manhattan is a unique place and we should do what we can to preserve that. But I'll repeat what I said: No one, including me, has the RIGHT to live on Manhattan island. Real estate ownership is the means to gain rights to real estate.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Yes, I realize that other boroughs have cheaper rents. I'm focusing on Manhattan, as it's here where I live and work. And it's here that I witness the gradual loss of the middle class and the speedy, dramatic change in neighborhoods. (A speed which may be lessen due to the downturn in the economy.) So for me, and for others like myself, it is clearly a matter of self-interest to try to make Manhattan remotely affordable. Otherwise, it will be a place solely for the rich, where the peasants (the middle class) are shipped in and out to make their days' wage and keep Manhattan going. I guess the vision of a Manhattan stuffed with wealthy people (both U.S. citizens and foreigners), sons and daughters of wealthy people who attend universities here, and tourists is not a vision I find warming and engaging.

Daniel said...

To get affordable rents, you should be fighting against the high paying jobs and the employers who offer them. The reason there is a demand for high priced housing in Manhattan is because there are so many people in this city that EARN high incomes. Eliminate the high payings JOBS and rents will plummet. You follow this logic in your comment that that downturn in the economy will give relief to the middle class.