Thursday, April 30, 2009

Supporting affordable housing & individual causes


Michael McKee of Tenants PAC writes:

Eight weeks remaining in the legislative session!
Eight weeks left to pressure recalcitrant State Senators.
Eight weeks left to win repeal of vacancy decontrol and other pro-tenant changes [including the Stewart-Cousins bill]

The State Legislature will recess for the year on Monday, June 22 – eight weeks from today.

YOUR help is needed NOW to make sure that the tenant movement wins significant pro-tenant changes in Albany, starting with repeal of vacancy decontrol, and:

► adequate rent protections for Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 tenants (S.3326!)

► reform of the Major Capital Improvement system

► reform of the 1/40th Individual Apartment Improvement system

► closing of the owner use eviction loophole

► reduction of the 20 percent statutory vacancy bonus

► closing of the preferential rent loophole

► reform of the NYC and suburban rent boards

► home rule.

It is going to take a real effort by tenants like you, and all tenant supporters, for us to win. We are up against a powerful adversary: the New York City real estate lobby, whose lobbyists are walking around Albany with their checkbooks open.

Ask yourself: how much do I want to win pro-tenant reforms to our weakened rent laws? Then ask yourself: what am I prepared to do in the next eight weeks to help the tenant movement win?

Most of the bills we are supporting have already passed the State Assembly, but are stuck in the State Senate where we do not have adequate votes to pass them. On the most important and controversial bill, repeal of vacancy decontrol (S2237-A), we are close, very close – but we do not yet have the 32 votes necessary to pass it.

How you can help:

(1) Volunteer for phone banking

(2) Volunteer for door knocking and street canvassing

(3) Make a contribution.

We are phoning voters who live in rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartments in targeted State Senate districts represented by State Senators who are not supporting the
tenant agenda (see list of non-supportive Senators below).

Tenants PAC is sponsoring a nightly phone bank, Mondays through Thursdays, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm at our office at 11 Park Place in lower Manhattan (complete address below). To volunteer or for more information: (212) 577-7001 or

There are other phone banks operating at different locations: one in Brooklyn, and several in Manhattan: one on the Lower East Side, two in midtown, and one on the Upper West Side. To volunteer or for more information: (212) 577-7001 or


Tenants are going to make several trips to targeted State Senate districts in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Westchester County and Nassau County. The targeted districts are those with significant numbers of rent-regulated voters that are represented by State Senators who are not supporting the tenant agenda (see list of non-supportive Senators below). We will distribute literature on the streets and in apartment buildings, urging tenant voters to put pressure on their state senators to support our legislative agenda. To volunteer or for more information: (212) 577-7001 or


We urgently need funds to pay for the costs of running a major legislative campaign: our two biggest expenses are for printing, and buses and vans to Albany (at this point we are sending small groups of tenants to Albany every day the Legislature is in session).

Send a check to one or more of the following organizations:

Tenants PAC
11 Park Place, Suite 814
New York NY 10007
(Make check payable to Tenants PAC, or donate on line)

Housing Here and Now
339 Lafayette Street, 3d Floor
New York NY 10012
(Make check payable to Housing Here and Now)

Met Council on Housing
339 Lafayette Street, 3d Floor
New York NY 10012
(Make check payable to Met Council on Housing or donate on line)

NYS Tenants & Neighbors Coalition
236 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York NY 10001
(Make check payable to Tenants & Neighbors or donate on line)

State Senators who should, but do not, support the tenant agenda:

(1) Craig Johnson (Democrat)
7th State Senate District, NW Nassau County
(Great Neck, Port Washington, Floral Park, Bellerose, Mineola, Carle Place)

(2) Martin Malave Dilan (Democrat)
17th State Senate District, Brooklyn
(Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick, Clinton Hill,
Wyckoff Heights, Broadway Junction, Highland Park, Cypress Hills)

(3) Martin Golden (Republican)
22nd State Senate District, Brooklyn
(Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Ocean
Parkway South, Sheepshead Bay, Gerritson Beach)

(4) Diane Savino (Democrat)
23rd State Senate District, Brooklyn/Staten Island
(Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Coney Island, Grasmere, Rosebank, Grymes
Hill, Clifton, Stapleton, New Brighton, Livingston, Port Richmond)

(5) Carl Kruger (Democrat)
27th State Senate District, Brooklyn
(Midwood, Gravesend, Flatlands, Sheepshead Bay, Ocean Parkway, Mapleton)

(6) Pedro Espada (Democrat)
33rd State Senate District, Bronx
(Tremont, East Tremont, Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, University
Heights, Fordham, Mount Hope, Norwood, Van Cortlandt Village, Bedford

(7) Jeffrey Klein (Democrat)
34th State Senate District, Bronx/Westchester County
(Throgs Neck, Westchester Square, Morris Park, Pelham Parkway,
Eastchester-Bronx, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon,
Eastchester-Westchester, Yonkers, North Riverdale, Woodlawn, Norwood,
Belmont Park)

If you know people in their districts, please ask them to call their senator!

Michael McKee, Treasurer
Tenants Political Action Committee
11 Park Place, Suite 814
New York NY 10007
(212) 577-7001

II. Tenant Luciane de Andrade of Apt. 9D will be participating in the Vision Walk to raise support for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

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