Thursday, June 29, 2006

Schaeffer Says: Urstadt Repeal Necessary for a Sustainable New York

WFP Manhattan chapter leader Kenny Schaeffer writes in with a valuable observation on Tuesday night's NYC Rent Guidelines Board hearing.
The Times got it right: the hundreds of angry tenants from across the city who packed Cooper union to Tuesday's vote for further steep hikes were focused as never before on the need to restore NYC home rule over rent and evictions. When Rockefeller took away local control in 1971, the median rent in the city was $215/month. We can't sustain a city with only the very poor and the very rich, because neither groups pays enough taxes [to sustain a society that lives up to our values].
Absolutely right. From that Times story:

Tenant organizers contend that legislators in Albany are insensitive to the interests of New York City renters and are beholden to landlord interests. Tenant leaders said the current escalation of rents stemmed in part from an erosion of tenant protections since the state began taking greater control in the 1970's. With city control, they say, they could lobby their own elected officials.

"At least we would be dealing with local officials who have rent-regulated tenants in their districts, not some state senator from Plattsburgh who doesn't have a single rent-regulated apartment in his district but gets a lot of money from New York City landlords," said Michael McKee, the treasurer of Tenants Political Action Committee.

1 comment:

Kenny Schaeffer said...

We stopped using the frame "Urstadt" when Housing Here and Now adopted the demand for "home rule" in 12/04 preparing for the Groundhog Day march that drew 8000 to City Hall park (along with inclusionary zoning, Battery Park City $$, special needs housing and code enforcement).
"Urstadt" turns people off; "home rule" turns them on. Or as Marshall McLuhan would say, Urstadt is cold and home rule is hot.
When there is need to give it a name, call it the Rockefeller law, which it is. To the cogniscenti, we say they only called it Ur-stadt because Mr. Uberstadt was busy that day.
-kenny.schaeffer@gmail.com