I hope to see you this Thursday evening at the Bronx Library Center on Kingsbridge Road for the Bronx Rally for Rent Reform. (see link below for the official flyer)
Were coming into the final days of our best window of opportunity to get renewal and strengthening of the NYC rent laws. We particularly need to see an end to vacancy de-stabilization. The political reality we face is very clear. The progressive forces for real rent reform in the legislature are up against the NYS Senate majority which is financially backed by landlord interests. The Senate majority will do everything they can to weaken tenant rights. The strongest weapons we have to defeat them are the bargaining chips inherent in the budget process. Last week, Governor Cuomo seemed to be signaling that he recognized this important opportunity to pass stronger rent laws. He said he wanted to deal with the issue in the context of the budget negotiations. Today he seems to be backing away from this position. Thursday night is about sending him the message that he cannot back down. Tenants and those who support affordable housing must make our voices heard. Pass stronger rent laws now.
On Thursday we will hear from tenants victimized by weak rent laws -- for example a tenant from a building whose corporate landlord saw weak rent laws as an opportunity for real estate speculation. The landlord's stated plan was to force rent-stabilized tenants out and use vacancy de-stabilization to create market rate units throughout the Bronx. This plan was an utter failure that led to foreclosure and no services for tenants. The horror these tenants have been forced to live in is a threat to health and safety and is utterly immoral. It would not have happened if we had stronger rent laws.
We will also hear from Bronx Assembly members Jeff Dinowitz, Marcos Crespo and Nelson Castro -- they are strong voices for real rent reform. Joining them will be another strong voice tenants, Senator Gustavo Rivera. He was elected, in part, because of strong support from a tenant movement tired of the pro-landlord machinations of Senator Rivera's predecessor. Other Bronx elected officials, including Borough President Diaz, have told us they support this rally and hope to join us.
The most important person we need is you or the person to whom you will pass this information.
Here is the address to the Rent Reform Campaign Blog Spot for the official flyer and more info on the organization. We will post a link on the Boogieddowner as well so anyone can log on a view future posts and events.
The Real Rent Reform Campaign (R3) is a coalition of tenant, community and labor groups fighting to pass progressive legislation to protect tenants and preserve affordable housing. The laws that govern rent regulation sunset on June 15, 2011. Without these laws, over a million rent regulated tenants will lose their protections. We are fighting to get the laws not only renewed, but strengthened!