Municipal Government

Ready to Rumble for Rent Regulation?

November 19, 2014
By Marc Bussanich

New York, NY—That’s what Assemblyman Keith Wright said outside City Hall on Tuesday as he was joined by a bevy of city and state elected officials and pro-tenant advocates as they gear up for the legislative battle against the Republican-led State Senate to preserve strong rent regulation laws in the city.

Delsenia Glover, an organizer with The Alliance for Tenant Power, the group that organized Tuesday’s rally, said the group’s goals in the upcoming legislative session is to keep the city’s rent control laws in force as they are set to expire next June.

Now that the Republicans have won the State Senate, thanks to the Real Estate Board of New York’s political action committee, they will undoubtedly oppose efforts to repeal the Urstadt Law, which gives Albany power over the city’s rent control laws, and vacancy decontrol, which allows property owners to take apartments off the rent-regulated list when they go vacant.

In the accompanying video, we asked Assemblyman Keith Wright, who is Housing Committee Chair in the State Assembly, about his concerns of protecting strong rent control laws in the face of a Republican-controlled Senate.

“Politics is always a concern. The fact that the Senate Republicans have maintained control of the State Senate is very important because, quite frankly, they have been the holdup in terms of fair rent regulations in New York City,” said Wright.

But he said during the press conference that he isn’t new to rent control battles in the State’s Capital.

“I’ve been through four rent-stabilization fights. I have colleagues behind me in the State Legislature, not the least of which is a guy by the name of Richard Gottfried (who stood to Wright’s right during the presser) who has been through many rent stabilization fights. We have experience in terms of doing,” Wright said.

We asked him if, as chair of the housing committee, he’s ready to do battle with the real estate industry come January to preserve rent control laws in New York City, he said, “I’m reminded by those five little words that I hear before every boxing match, and those five little words are ‘Let’s get ready to rumble.’”  

@marcbuss marc@laborpress.org

November 19, 2014

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