Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/rent 2017-12-18T07:16:02+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Major City Issues at Play in Politically Charged, Post-Budget Legislative Session 2016-04-06T22:49:29+00:00 2016-04-06T22:49:29+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6267:major-city-issues-at-play-in-politically-charged-post-budget-legislative-session Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/26096555691_00e0f8bb7b_z.jpg" alt="cuomo budget paid leave pic" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo announces the budget deal (photo via The Governor's Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea of extending state government's legislative session this year to tackle ethics reform during an appearance in Binghamton on Wednesday. "We have a relatively light agenda because we did so much work in the budget," the governor said. "We passed the minimum wage increase, we passed paid family leave, we passed a great package for the middle class, we passed a great package for upstate New York, more education funding than ever before."</p> <p>It's a concerning statement for some advocates and elected officials who see the session full of unresolved issues - including, but beyond ethics - especially ones that impact New York City, issues that the governor himself tackled during his January State of the State speech or has since brought to the table. Some advocates take the governor's statement as an acknowledgement that he traded away issues Senate Republicans oppose to get a minimum wage increase, and not only in the budget, but for the rest of the legislative session that has just begun and is scheduled to end in June.</p> <p>All-important control of the State Senate will be up for grabs again in November, but a key battle in the overall war will be decided on April 19 in the contest to fill the seat vacated by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, recently convicted on federal corruption charges. The April special and impending November elections mean legislators are anxious to get back to their districts while avoiding political landmines.</p> <p>Ethics reforms are one of the many issues jettisoned from budget talks that lawmakers say were dominated by minimum wage negotiations. Major issues of particular importance to New York City yet to be addressed this year include mayoral control of schools; a multitude of criminal justice reforms, some of which were introduced by Cuomo; housing programs, including a replacement for the 421-a property tax credit aimed at spurring affordable housing development; and two education matters that have been linked in the past: The DREAM Act and the education investment tax credit.</p> <p><strong>Mayoral Control</strong><br />Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and his conference have used Mayor Bill de Blasio as a progressive boogieman since the mayor tried to help Democrats win control of the chamber in 2014. Last year Flanagan successfully beat back the mayor's push for a seven-year extension of mayoral control, getting his negotiating partners to settle on one year. He again maneuvered discussion of renewal out of this year's budget discussions and before a spending deal was even announced, he <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com:8080/index.php/government/6241-senate-schedules-de-blasio-for-two-hearings-on-mayoral-control-of-city-schools" target="_blank">scheduled hearings on mayoral control</a> for May 4 in Albany and May 19 in New York City. Mayoral control is due to sunset on June 30.</p> <p>Many Democrats expect Senate Republicans to delay actually acting on mayoral control until as late as possible in order to keep de Blasio "in check." With no other sensible alternative, de Blasio has been gracious about the situation so far, saying he plans to attend the hearings "personally" and welcomes the chance for "dialogue" on the issue.</p> <p><strong>Criminal Justice Reforms</strong><br />Gov. Cuomo has supported <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6249-criminal-justice-reform-again-given-little-attention-in-budget-negotiations" target="_blank">three major criminal justice reforms</a> over the last two years: Raise the Age, an effort to end New York's practice of treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system; an effort to create independent review of police killings of civilians; and a program to increase data reporting of the race and ethnicity of individuals involved in police interactions. Unable to deliver on the first two last year, Cuomo took executive action. He moved 16- and 17-year-olds out of adult prisons and gave Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office the discretion to look into police killings of civilians. Advocates were pleased, but acknowledged both issues still needed to be addressed in law.</p> <p>This year Cuomo has proposed a bill that would give his office the ability to convene an investigation into police killings of civilians but only if certain criteria is met. He has continued to push for Raise the Age but not with the urgency supporters would like. They point out that even being held in separate facilities from older inmates, 16- and 17-year-olds are still treated as adults when arrested and tried, which make negative outcomes and criminal records more likely.</p> <p>On Tuesday, supporters of a bill that would mandate the state collect data on police interactions with the public gathered in Albany to push Senate Republicans and Cuomo to act on an issue they call "common sense."</p> <p>The bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Joseph Lentol and state Senator Daniel Squadron, both Brooklyn Democrats, would require the state to collect and report data on the number of tickets and misdemeanor arrests across the state; the number of civilian deaths in police custody or during an arrest; the race, ethnicity, and sex of those charged with misdemeanors and violations; and the geographic location of enforcement-related activity and arrest-related deaths. Lentol said the bill is not "anti-police" but a "transparency" and "open government" tool to improve relations between police and communities across the state. Lentol prodded Gov. Cuomo to act, noting that Cuomo has a similar bill that has failed to garner support.</p> <p>"Yet again, communities of color were left behind in New York State budget negotiations, with no meaningful advancement of any criminal justice reforms," said Alyssa Aguilera, co-executive director of VOCAL-NY. "Passing the STAT Act this legislative session provides an opportunity for Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to show they value the safety and dignity of all New Yorkers."</p> <p>Squadron told Gotham Gazette that the bill is one that Senate Republicans "put in a black box, a dark room," never to be seen again. "This isn't something we have debated. We haven't heard their argument against it, it just disappears." Lentol, however, said that he believes police unions are using their influence to block the bill.</p> <p>Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, Democrat of Queens, supports Lentol's bill and said that he feels his constituents and advocates are growing frustrated that the Senate fails to vote on criminal justice reforms year after year. "I think the governor is really going to have to move on some of these bills and not just wave his hands in the air and say 'It's the Republicans'" Aubry said. "We know he can get what he wants. He has an election coming up and he's got to deliver for these communities."</p> <p>A spokesperson for the governor, Dani Lever, said in a statement that&nbsp;"The governor has and continues to push for comprehensive criminal justice reform to address the treatment of juveniles in the system and the prosecution of fatality cases involving law enforcement. Despite the legislature's failure to agree on these reforms, the governor has taken bold action and issued executive orders appointing a special prosecutor in police cases (the first of its kind in the country) and removing juveniles from adult state prisons. Until the legislature passes real reforms, the governor's executive orders will remain in effect."</p> <p><strong>Housing</strong><br />Last year in an unprecedented move, Cuomo put the fate of the 421-a tax abatement program in the hands of the two stakeholder industries - real estate developers and construction unions. Whatever deal they reached on wages in new housing developments utilizing 421-a was to be enacted into law with other reforms to the program, but if they failed, 421-a would sunset. <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6038-negotiations-to-extend-important-affordable-housing-tax-break-said-to-reach-impasse" target="_blank">Negotiations floundered</a> and 421-a is dead.</p> <p>The program is thought to be essential to affordable housing production in New York City, making it profitable for developers to build new rental housing with some affordable units included. When Cuomo rejected compromise legislation crafted by de Blasio last June, it was one of the final straws to break de Blasio's back (along with the mayoral control compromise and more), <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">leading to his now-infamous tirade</a> against the governor on June 30. De Blasio's affordable housing goals rely on 421-a-related production.</p> <p>On Monday, Cuomo <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/albany-newsmakers/2016/04/4/ny1-online--governor-cuomo-breaks-down-state-budget.html" target="_blank">told NY1's Errol Louis</a> that he is looking for a replacement. "You can have a fair program that pays a fair rate to the unions and also a fair rate of profit to the developers," Cuomo said. "I believe there is that balance to be struck. But they have to strike that balance. We're still trying, but the Legislature is not going to approve a plan that kicks the labor unions out of the affordable housing business."</p> <p>Bill Murrow, the governor's top aide, followed up those comments on Tuesday during a Crain's New York Business breakfast event, indicating that labor and real estate are indeed negotiating again. "The developers, REBNY, and the construction trades...they'll find some common ground. I am hopeful that sometime between now and June that something will actually happen," Mulrow <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2016/04/8595747/cuomo-administration-hopeful-about-421-successor?top-featured-image" target="_blank">said</a>.</p> <p>On Tuesday, tenant advocates gathered in Albany to demand that negotiations on 421-a or something like must also include strengthening rent regulations. Delsenia Glover, campaign manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power opened the press conference by condemning the deal that renewed the rent laws last year. "We pretty much got nothing," she said. "At the time Governor Cuomo said they were the 'strongest rent laws in history.' It's not true, we got nothing." Members of the crowd shouted "He lied!"</p> <p>Glover said she has been disturbed to hear "lamentations" that 421-a is dead, saying she was glad a "giveaway to luxury developers" and "$1.1 billion tax suck" was dead and that assertions that developers won't be able to build affordable housing without it is patently false.</p> <p>"Our demand," said Glover, "is this: If 421-a or anything that looks like 421-a is revived or created then the rent laws must be reopened, we get rid of vacancy bonus, fix preferential rents, and then maybe we can have a conversation."</p> <p>A number of legislators who spoke after Glover pushed against the idea of any 421-a renewal. Assembly Member Walter Mosley of Brooklyn said he doesn't use the term '421-a' because "We don't want nothin' like 421-a to resurface, but ultimately we understand if anything like 421-a comes to the floor then we reopen the rent laws. Without that we have no discussion."</p> <p>Assembly Housing Chair Keith Wright, who introduced a plan of something of a 421-a alternative earlier this year to a tepid response, brought up his proposal in front of the audience that was openly hostile to any replacement. Wright's plan would utilize the state's abandoned property fund to give a subsidy of $100,000 per affordable unit at a cost of about $200 million per year, compared to 421-a's 25-year property tax break and $1 billion annual tax revenue price tag.</p> <p>"The plan was not...people were intrigued by the idea," Wright told the crowd, seeming to catch himself in an effort to promote the measure, "but listen anything in Albany takes a minute to work up to, but we are still pushing that plan, but we are still under siege."</p> <p>Wright is a close ally of Cuomo and many expect that his plan was the first shot fired in an effort to restore a 421-a plan. The fact that Cuomo and Wright are openly pushing a replacement and that Senate Republicans are likely to want to deliver for real estate developers makes many advocates think it is a question of "when" not "if" a 421-a replacement comes to the floor of both houses. They hope to keep up public pressure to win some sort of concessions when it takes place.</p> <p><strong>Other Education Issues</strong><br />Last year Cuomo tried to connect the DREAM Act that would allow the undocumented access to college tuition assistance and the education tax credit that would give benefits to those who donate to private schools. The DREAM Act has massive support in the Assembly, which has passed the measure repeatedly over the last few years and the education tax credit is a favorite of Senate Republicans. Cuomo's bid at linkage failed last year (he did not attempt to link them again this year, but did include both in his executive budget), but both issues remain on the table and the fact that they were left out of the budget has rankled a number of lawmakers.</p> <p>Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat from Brooklyn who caucuses with Republicans, was said to be so upset that Republicans didn't demand the education tax credit be part of the budget that he didn't conference with them during budget negotiations (he was then the lone Senate "no" vote on the minimum wage and education budget bill). Meanwhile, DREAM supporters like Sen. Jose Peralta, a Democrat from Queens, railed against its exclusion during the late-night budget debate.</p> <p>For supporters of each measure the problem seems to be that opposition to the other measure has become a litmus test for some in their party's base. Senate Republicans have included language touting the disinclusion of the DREAM Act in the budget on the Senate website, listing it as an accomplishment:</p> <p>"Rejecting the Use of Taxpayer Dollars to Fund College Tuition for Illegal Immigrants:</p> <p>"The final budget rejects an Executive Budget proposal that would have cost state taxpayers $27 million and reward people who are here illegally by giving them free college tuition. The measure would have extended all other criteria, exemptions or opportunities found within the education law - including all scholarship and tuition assistance programs funded with state tax dollars - to illegal immigrants while hardworking middle-class families are already being forced to take out massive college loans to pay for higher education."</p> <p>Meanwhile, public school advocates are entrenched against the education tax credit, saying that it is a taxpayer giveaway to millionaires who will flood their favored schools with donations using up the credit before average families can utilize it. The Alliance for Quality Education, a teachers union-aligned group, has held press conferences and briefings against the policy this year.</p> <p><strong>Albany Tradition</strong><br />If the past is indeed prologue than it is a safe bet that many of these issues will not come to a vote in both houses this year. With an important special election, a presidential race, and the entire Legislature up for (re)election, leaders will likely be looking to rest on the work they did in the budget and get back to their districts. While there will be a lot of noise made by the media and good government groups around ethics reform, no one who knows Albany is holding their breath.</p> <p>Mayoral control of city schools is the only key policy related to New York City facing an expiration date and <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com:8080/index.php/government/6241-senate-schedules-de-blasio-for-two-hearings-on-mayoral-control-of-city-schools" target="_blank">all-but-sure to see action</a>. The questions are what Senate Republicans demand in exchange for extension, how long it is extended for, and how much they make de Blasio sweat in the process.</p> <p>Including Wednesday, April 6, there are currently 25 session days remaining until <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/calendar/" target="_blank">its scheduled</a> end on June 16.</p> <p>

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by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/26096555691_00e0f8bb7b_z.jpg" alt="cuomo budget paid leave pic" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo announces the budget deal (photo via The Governor's Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea of extending state government's legislative session this year to tackle ethics reform during an appearance in Binghamton on Wednesday. "We have a relatively light agenda because we did so much work in the budget," the governor said. "We passed the minimum wage increase, we passed paid family leave, we passed a great package for the middle class, we passed a great package for upstate New York, more education funding than ever before."</p> <p>It's a concerning statement for some advocates and elected officials who see the session full of unresolved issues - including, but beyond ethics - especially ones that impact New York City, issues that the governor himself tackled during his January State of the State speech or has since brought to the table. Some advocates take the governor's statement as an acknowledgement that he traded away issues Senate Republicans oppose to get a minimum wage increase, and not only in the budget, but for the rest of the legislative session that has just begun and is scheduled to end in June.</p> <p>All-important control of the State Senate will be up for grabs again in November, but a key battle in the overall war will be decided on April 19 in the contest to fill the seat vacated by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, recently convicted on federal corruption charges. The April special and impending November elections mean legislators are anxious to get back to their districts while avoiding political landmines.</p> <p>Ethics reforms are one of the many issues jettisoned from budget talks that lawmakers say were dominated by minimum wage negotiations. Major issues of particular importance to New York City yet to be addressed this year include mayoral control of schools; a multitude of criminal justice reforms, some of which were introduced by Cuomo; housing programs, including a replacement for the 421-a property tax credit aimed at spurring affordable housing development; and two education matters that have been linked in the past: The DREAM Act and the education investment tax credit.</p> <p><strong>Mayoral Control</strong><br />Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and his conference have used Mayor Bill de Blasio as a progressive boogieman since the mayor tried to help Democrats win control of the chamber in 2014. Last year Flanagan successfully beat back the mayor's push for a seven-year extension of mayoral control, getting his negotiating partners to settle on one year. He again maneuvered discussion of renewal out of this year's budget discussions and before a spending deal was even announced, he <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com:8080/index.php/government/6241-senate-schedules-de-blasio-for-two-hearings-on-mayoral-control-of-city-schools" target="_blank">scheduled hearings on mayoral control</a> for May 4 in Albany and May 19 in New York City. Mayoral control is due to sunset on June 30.</p> <p>Many Democrats expect Senate Republicans to delay actually acting on mayoral control until as late as possible in order to keep de Blasio "in check." With no other sensible alternative, de Blasio has been gracious about the situation so far, saying he plans to attend the hearings "personally" and welcomes the chance for "dialogue" on the issue.</p> <p><strong>Criminal Justice Reforms</strong><br />Gov. Cuomo has supported <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6249-criminal-justice-reform-again-given-little-attention-in-budget-negotiations" target="_blank">three major criminal justice reforms</a> over the last two years: Raise the Age, an effort to end New York's practice of treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system; an effort to create independent review of police killings of civilians; and a program to increase data reporting of the race and ethnicity of individuals involved in police interactions. Unable to deliver on the first two last year, Cuomo took executive action. He moved 16- and 17-year-olds out of adult prisons and gave Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office the discretion to look into police killings of civilians. Advocates were pleased, but acknowledged both issues still needed to be addressed in law.</p> <p>This year Cuomo has proposed a bill that would give his office the ability to convene an investigation into police killings of civilians but only if certain criteria is met. He has continued to push for Raise the Age but not with the urgency supporters would like. They point out that even being held in separate facilities from older inmates, 16- and 17-year-olds are still treated as adults when arrested and tried, which make negative outcomes and criminal records more likely.</p> <p>On Tuesday, supporters of a bill that would mandate the state collect data on police interactions with the public gathered in Albany to push Senate Republicans and Cuomo to act on an issue they call "common sense."</p> <p>The bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Joseph Lentol and state Senator Daniel Squadron, both Brooklyn Democrats, would require the state to collect and report data on the number of tickets and misdemeanor arrests across the state; the number of civilian deaths in police custody or during an arrest; the race, ethnicity, and sex of those charged with misdemeanors and violations; and the geographic location of enforcement-related activity and arrest-related deaths. Lentol said the bill is not "anti-police" but a "transparency" and "open government" tool to improve relations between police and communities across the state. Lentol prodded Gov. Cuomo to act, noting that Cuomo has a similar bill that has failed to garner support.</p> <p>"Yet again, communities of color were left behind in New York State budget negotiations, with no meaningful advancement of any criminal justice reforms," said Alyssa Aguilera, co-executive director of VOCAL-NY. "Passing the STAT Act this legislative session provides an opportunity for Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to show they value the safety and dignity of all New Yorkers."</p> <p>Squadron told Gotham Gazette that the bill is one that Senate Republicans "put in a black box, a dark room," never to be seen again. "This isn't something we have debated. We haven't heard their argument against it, it just disappears." Lentol, however, said that he believes police unions are using their influence to block the bill.</p> <p>Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, Democrat of Queens, supports Lentol's bill and said that he feels his constituents and advocates are growing frustrated that the Senate fails to vote on criminal justice reforms year after year. "I think the governor is really going to have to move on some of these bills and not just wave his hands in the air and say 'It's the Republicans'" Aubry said. "We know he can get what he wants. He has an election coming up and he's got to deliver for these communities."</p> <p>A spokesperson for the governor, Dani Lever, said in a statement that&nbsp;"The governor has and continues to push for comprehensive criminal justice reform to address the treatment of juveniles in the system and the prosecution of fatality cases involving law enforcement. Despite the legislature's failure to agree on these reforms, the governor has taken bold action and issued executive orders appointing a special prosecutor in police cases (the first of its kind in the country) and removing juveniles from adult state prisons. Until the legislature passes real reforms, the governor's executive orders will remain in effect."</p> <p><strong>Housing</strong><br />Last year in an unprecedented move, Cuomo put the fate of the 421-a tax abatement program in the hands of the two stakeholder industries - real estate developers and construction unions. Whatever deal they reached on wages in new housing developments utilizing 421-a was to be enacted into law with other reforms to the program, but if they failed, 421-a would sunset. <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6038-negotiations-to-extend-important-affordable-housing-tax-break-said-to-reach-impasse" target="_blank">Negotiations floundered</a> and 421-a is dead.</p> <p>The program is thought to be essential to affordable housing production in New York City, making it profitable for developers to build new rental housing with some affordable units included. When Cuomo rejected compromise legislation crafted by de Blasio last June, it was one of the final straws to break de Blasio's back (along with the mayoral control compromise and more), <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">leading to his now-infamous tirade</a> against the governor on June 30. De Blasio's affordable housing goals rely on 421-a-related production.</p> <p>On Monday, Cuomo <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/albany-newsmakers/2016/04/4/ny1-online--governor-cuomo-breaks-down-state-budget.html" target="_blank">told NY1's Errol Louis</a> that he is looking for a replacement. "You can have a fair program that pays a fair rate to the unions and also a fair rate of profit to the developers," Cuomo said. "I believe there is that balance to be struck. But they have to strike that balance. We're still trying, but the Legislature is not going to approve a plan that kicks the labor unions out of the affordable housing business."</p> <p>Bill Murrow, the governor's top aide, followed up those comments on Tuesday during a Crain's New York Business breakfast event, indicating that labor and real estate are indeed negotiating again. "The developers, REBNY, and the construction trades...they'll find some common ground. I am hopeful that sometime between now and June that something will actually happen," Mulrow <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2016/04/8595747/cuomo-administration-hopeful-about-421-successor?top-featured-image" target="_blank">said</a>.</p> <p>On Tuesday, tenant advocates gathered in Albany to demand that negotiations on 421-a or something like must also include strengthening rent regulations. Delsenia Glover, campaign manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power opened the press conference by condemning the deal that renewed the rent laws last year. "We pretty much got nothing," she said. "At the time Governor Cuomo said they were the 'strongest rent laws in history.' It's not true, we got nothing." Members of the crowd shouted "He lied!"</p> <p>Glover said she has been disturbed to hear "lamentations" that 421-a is dead, saying she was glad a "giveaway to luxury developers" and "$1.1 billion tax suck" was dead and that assertions that developers won't be able to build affordable housing without it is patently false.</p> <p>"Our demand," said Glover, "is this: If 421-a or anything that looks like 421-a is revived or created then the rent laws must be reopened, we get rid of vacancy bonus, fix preferential rents, and then maybe we can have a conversation."</p> <p>A number of legislators who spoke after Glover pushed against the idea of any 421-a renewal. Assembly Member Walter Mosley of Brooklyn said he doesn't use the term '421-a' because "We don't want nothin' like 421-a to resurface, but ultimately we understand if anything like 421-a comes to the floor then we reopen the rent laws. Without that we have no discussion."</p> <p>Assembly Housing Chair Keith Wright, who introduced a plan of something of a 421-a alternative earlier this year to a tepid response, brought up his proposal in front of the audience that was openly hostile to any replacement. Wright's plan would utilize the state's abandoned property fund to give a subsidy of $100,000 per affordable unit at a cost of about $200 million per year, compared to 421-a's 25-year property tax break and $1 billion annual tax revenue price tag.</p> <p>"The plan was not...people were intrigued by the idea," Wright told the crowd, seeming to catch himself in an effort to promote the measure, "but listen anything in Albany takes a minute to work up to, but we are still pushing that plan, but we are still under siege."</p> <p>Wright is a close ally of Cuomo and many expect that his plan was the first shot fired in an effort to restore a 421-a plan. The fact that Cuomo and Wright are openly pushing a replacement and that Senate Republicans are likely to want to deliver for real estate developers makes many advocates think it is a question of "when" not "if" a 421-a replacement comes to the floor of both houses. They hope to keep up public pressure to win some sort of concessions when it takes place.</p> <p><strong>Other Education Issues</strong><br />Last year Cuomo tried to connect the DREAM Act that would allow the undocumented access to college tuition assistance and the education tax credit that would give benefits to those who donate to private schools. The DREAM Act has massive support in the Assembly, which has passed the measure repeatedly over the last few years and the education tax credit is a favorite of Senate Republicans. Cuomo's bid at linkage failed last year (he did not attempt to link them again this year, but did include both in his executive budget), but both issues remain on the table and the fact that they were left out of the budget has rankled a number of lawmakers.</p> <p>Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat from Brooklyn who caucuses with Republicans, was said to be so upset that Republicans didn't demand the education tax credit be part of the budget that he didn't conference with them during budget negotiations (he was then the lone Senate "no" vote on the minimum wage and education budget bill). Meanwhile, DREAM supporters like Sen. Jose Peralta, a Democrat from Queens, railed against its exclusion during the late-night budget debate.</p> <p>For supporters of each measure the problem seems to be that opposition to the other measure has become a litmus test for some in their party's base. Senate Republicans have included language touting the disinclusion of the DREAM Act in the budget on the Senate website, listing it as an accomplishment:</p> <p>"Rejecting the Use of Taxpayer Dollars to Fund College Tuition for Illegal Immigrants:</p> <p>"The final budget rejects an Executive Budget proposal that would have cost state taxpayers $27 million and reward people who are here illegally by giving them free college tuition. The measure would have extended all other criteria, exemptions or opportunities found within the education law - including all scholarship and tuition assistance programs funded with state tax dollars - to illegal immigrants while hardworking middle-class families are already being forced to take out massive college loans to pay for higher education."</p> <p>Meanwhile, public school advocates are entrenched against the education tax credit, saying that it is a taxpayer giveaway to millionaires who will flood their favored schools with donations using up the credit before average families can utilize it. The Alliance for Quality Education, a teachers union-aligned group, has held press conferences and briefings against the policy this year.</p> <p><strong>Albany Tradition</strong><br />If the past is indeed prologue than it is a safe bet that many of these issues will not come to a vote in both houses this year. With an important special election, a presidential race, and the entire Legislature up for (re)election, leaders will likely be looking to rest on the work they did in the budget and get back to their districts. While there will be a lot of noise made by the media and good government groups around ethics reform, no one who knows Albany is holding their breath.</p> <p>Mayoral control of city schools is the only key policy related to New York City facing an expiration date and <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com:8080/index.php/government/6241-senate-schedules-de-blasio-for-two-hearings-on-mayoral-control-of-city-schools" target="_blank">all-but-sure to see action</a>. The questions are what Senate Republicans demand in exchange for extension, how long it is extended for, and how much they make de Blasio sweat in the process.</p> <p>Including Wednesday, April 6, there are currently 25 session days remaining until <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/calendar/" target="_blank">its scheduled</a> end on June 16.</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Eviction Bonuses and Preferential Rents, Not 421-a, Should Be the Focus in Albany 2016-04-03T05:00:00+00:00 2016-04-03T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6259:eviction-bonuses-and-preferential-rents-not-421-a-should-be-the-focus-in-albany Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Cezu80_W8AEI-6j.jpg" alt="aff housing march rally" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p>An affordable housing march&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We have long advocated for the elimination of the 421-a tax abatement because it has been nothing but a giveaway to developers masquerading as a means of affordable housing production. This is why affordable housing advocates across the city celebrated when 421-a expired on January 15.</p> <p>Since its expiration, arguments about its possible revival are popping up more and more frequently, along with lamentations about its demise. How quickly we forget the many published <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/tenants-take-hit-as-ny-fails-to-police-huge-housing-tax-break" target="_blank">analyses</a> exposing the fact that even though the controversial tax abatement has created little affordable housing, it has cost New York City taxpayers up to $1 billion in lost tax revenue annually.</p> <p>Only about 1,350 affordable apartments were created over the previous four years of this wasteful program. That is fewer than 350 per year, and with a price tag of $833,000 per affordable apartment created.</p> <p>Instead of discussing benefits for rich developers, all attention should be on fixing the major loopholes in the rent regulation system that houses 2.5 million tenants in approximately 1 million units with no cost whatsoever to the taxpayer.</p> <p>One of the most egregious of these loopholes is the "eviction bonus," which allows enormous rent increases of up to 20 percent in rent-stabilized apartments upon vacancy. This may be the greatest threat to the affordability and retention of rent-regulated housing, which is the foundation of strong and diverse communities and the reason that tenants looking to move are faced with unaffordable rents in every neighborhood in this city. The eviction bonus affects tens of thousands of low- and middle-income tenants – far more than those benefiting from 421-a.</p> <p>Then there are "preferential" rents, the other much-used landlord tool for driving rents and pushing tenants out of rent-regulated apartments. An estimated 325,000 low-income families are vulnerable to unaffordable rent increases upon lease renewal because the preferential rent system affects 1,000 times as many families than those that benefit from new 421-a affordable units each year.</p> <p>These were the reasons for a major rally of 300 community folks this week in the quickly gentrifying neighborhood of Bushwick, where Brooklyn residents described the many tactics used by landlords to evict rent-stabilized tenants in order to increase rents.</p> <p>The rent laws were renewed in June 2015, with nowhere near the reforms necessary to protect tenants in New York. Without strong rent regulations, tens of thousands of tenants will eventually be met with only two choices: end up in homeless shelters or leave the city altogether. Neither is acceptable.</p> <p>As the state moves beyond budget negotiations into legislative session, rent laws should become the focus of discussion, not the $1 billion 421-a developer giveaway. The millions of low-income tenants at risk of losing their homes and stable communities are more than enough reasons.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">De Blasio Calls for Albany to 'Make Right' on Program at Center of Rift with Governor</a>]</p> <p>***<br />Delsenia Glover is the campaign manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TenantPowerNY" target="_blank">@TenantPowerNY</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/Cezu80_W8AEI-6j.jpg" alt="aff housing march rally" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p>An affordable housing march&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>We have long advocated for the elimination of the 421-a tax abatement because it has been nothing but a giveaway to developers masquerading as a means of affordable housing production. This is why affordable housing advocates across the city celebrated when 421-a expired on January 15.</p> <p>Since its expiration, arguments about its possible revival are popping up more and more frequently, along with lamentations about its demise. How quickly we forget the many published <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/tenants-take-hit-as-ny-fails-to-police-huge-housing-tax-break" target="_blank">analyses</a> exposing the fact that even though the controversial tax abatement has created little affordable housing, it has cost New York City taxpayers up to $1 billion in lost tax revenue annually.</p> <p>Only about 1,350 affordable apartments were created over the previous four years of this wasteful program. That is fewer than 350 per year, and with a price tag of $833,000 per affordable apartment created.</p> <p>Instead of discussing benefits for rich developers, all attention should be on fixing the major loopholes in the rent regulation system that houses 2.5 million tenants in approximately 1 million units with no cost whatsoever to the taxpayer.</p> <p>One of the most egregious of these loopholes is the "eviction bonus," which allows enormous rent increases of up to 20 percent in rent-stabilized apartments upon vacancy. This may be the greatest threat to the affordability and retention of rent-regulated housing, which is the foundation of strong and diverse communities and the reason that tenants looking to move are faced with unaffordable rents in every neighborhood in this city. The eviction bonus affects tens of thousands of low- and middle-income tenants – far more than those benefiting from 421-a.</p> <p>Then there are "preferential" rents, the other much-used landlord tool for driving rents and pushing tenants out of rent-regulated apartments. An estimated 325,000 low-income families are vulnerable to unaffordable rent increases upon lease renewal because the preferential rent system affects 1,000 times as many families than those that benefit from new 421-a affordable units each year.</p> <p>These were the reasons for a major rally of 300 community folks this week in the quickly gentrifying neighborhood of Bushwick, where Brooklyn residents described the many tactics used by landlords to evict rent-stabilized tenants in order to increase rents.</p> <p>The rent laws were renewed in June 2015, with nowhere near the reforms necessary to protect tenants in New York. Without strong rent regulations, tens of thousands of tenants will eventually be met with only two choices: end up in homeless shelters or leave the city altogether. Neither is acceptable.</p> <p>As the state moves beyond budget negotiations into legislative session, rent laws should become the focus of discussion, not the $1 billion 421-a developer giveaway. The millions of low-income tenants at risk of losing their homes and stable communities are more than enough reasons.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6098-de-blasio-calls-for-albany-to-make-right-on-program-at-center-of-rift-with-governor" target="_blank">De Blasio Calls for Albany to 'Make Right' on Program at Center of Rift with Governor</a>]</p> <p>***<br />Delsenia Glover is the campaign manager for the Alliance for Tenant Power. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TenantPowerNY" target="_blank">@TenantPowerNY</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
Would Expired Rent Regs, Mayoral School Control Spell Doomsday for New York City? 2015-06-01T03:32:46+00:00 2015-06-01T03:32:46+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5747:would-expired-rent-regs-mayoral-school-control-spell-doomsday-for-new-york-city Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/15426845348_2ba84484d7_z.jpg" alt="BdB Cuomo" height="434" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">De Blasio &amp; Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>"Mayor of the City of New York, frustrated with Albany? Now there's a shocker," Gov. Andrew Cuomo <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/nyregion/new-round-in-a-rivalry-for-de-blasio-and-cuomo.html?ref=nyregion" target="_blank">responded</a> on Thursday to reporters who inquired about Mayor Bill de Blasio's concerns over Albany's reluctance to deliver more than simple extenders of policies like mayoral control of schools and rent regulations that impact millions of city residents.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/15426845348_2ba84484d7_z.jpg" alt="BdB Cuomo" height="434" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">De Blasio &amp; Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>"Mayor of the City of New York, frustrated with Albany? Now there's a shocker," Gov. Andrew Cuomo <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/nyregion/new-round-in-a-rivalry-for-de-blasio-and-cuomo.html?ref=nyregion" target="_blank">responded</a> on Thursday to reporters who inquired about Mayor Bill de Blasio's concerns over Albany's reluctance to deliver more than simple extenders of policies like mayoral control of schools and rent regulations that impact millions of city residents.</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 26 2015-05-25T21:17:46+00:00 2015-05-25T21:17:46+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5738:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-may-26 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>EYES ON ALBANY:</strong> The Legislature is back <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/calendar/" target="_blank">in session</a> on Wednesday and Thursday this week, two of the final 12 days until session is due to end Wednesday June 17. Will there simply be a big end-of-session deal as in years past? Will there be compromise reached to extend New York City rent regulations, the 421-a real estate tax abatement, or mayoral control of city schools? Will there be a deal reached on a hike to the minimum wage - or will Governor Andrew Cuomo continue to move through the wage board he had the Department of Labor convene? Will Senate Republicans agree to some semblance of <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5734-as-he-campaigns-for-top-priorities-many-wonder-where-cuomo-is-on-dream" target="_blank">the DREAM Act</a> or to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18? Will Assembly Democrats agree to the education investment tax credit that the governor and Senate Republicans are behind? Those are among the top questions heading into the final weeks of negotiations. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/reporters/david-howard-king" target="_blank">the latest on Albany</a> from Gotham Gazette]</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>EYES ON ALBANY:</strong> The Legislature is back <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/calendar/" target="_blank">in session</a> on Wednesday and Thursday this week, two of the final 12 days until session is due to end Wednesday June 17. Will there simply be a big end-of-session deal as in years past? Will there be compromise reached to extend New York City rent regulations, the 421-a real estate tax abatement, or mayoral control of city schools? Will there be a deal reached on a hike to the minimum wage - or will Governor Andrew Cuomo continue to move through the wage board he had the Department of Labor convene? Will Senate Republicans agree to some semblance of <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5734-as-he-campaigns-for-top-priorities-many-wonder-where-cuomo-is-on-dream" target="_blank">the DREAM Act</a> or to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18? Will Assembly Democrats agree to the education investment tax credit that the governor and Senate Republicans are behind? Those are among the top questions heading into the final weeks of negotiations. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/reporters/david-howard-king" target="_blank">the latest on Albany</a> from Gotham Gazette]</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 11 2015-05-10T02:56:23+00:00 2015-05-10T02:56:23+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5717:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-may-11 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to look for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>SKELOS WATCH:</strong> The fallout from Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' arrest on federal corruption charges continues, with Skelos facing increased pressure to step down from his leadership post. The Legislature is back in session in Albany on Monday, it seems that it is only a matter of time before Skelos takes the path indicted Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took after his arrest: becoming a rank-and-file member of his body while a colleague ascends to the throne. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5710-dean-skelos-thwarted-reform-and-maintained-power-despite-the-odds" target="_blank">our in-depth look at how Skelos came to power and what he's done over the years to maintain it</a>]</p> <p>Meanwhile, there are only about <strong>five weeks left in the legislative session</strong> and for any real policy work to get done, the Senate leadership must be stabilized. There are a whole host of issues that lawmakers and advocates want to see action on, but in order for anything to really get done, it will come down to negotiations among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and the leader of the Senate, whether it is Skelos or a replacement. Some of the <strong>key issues on the negotiating table</strong> include <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5702-quiet-early-in-new-phase-of-mayoral-control-debate-de-blasio-bloomberg" target="_blank">mayoral control</a> of New York City schools, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5716-tenant-advocates-seize-on-scandal-in-push-for-stronger-rent-laws" target="_blank">rent laws</a> and the 421-A tax break for real estate development, 'raise the age' and other <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5694-criminal-justice-reformers-look-to-impact-albany-as-legislators-return-to-session" target="_blank">criminal justice reforms</a>, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5709-even-amid-albany-dysfunction-advocates-forge-path-to-paid-family-leave" target="_blank">paid family leave</a>, the minimum wage, and more. It doesn't seem anything else will be done on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5696-with-another-llc-loophole-vote-coming-dwindling-optimism-about-any-campaign-finance-reform" target="_blank">the ethics reform front</a>, even though there is more and more <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5696-with-another-llc-loophole-vote-coming-dwindling-optimism-about-any-campaign-finance-reform" target="_blank">scrutiny on the LLC loophole</a> and the problems with the influence of campaign donations and donors. Gov. <strong>Cuomo is in a tough spot</strong>, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5713-amid-further-ethics-scandal-what-can-cuomo-do-now" target="_blank">the worse Albany looks the worse he looks</a>, and he also wants to get more legislation done before the end of session, but his hands are tied as the Senate deals with the upheaval of Skelos' arrest. The governor may just resort to doing <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5713-amid-further-ethics-scandal-what-can-cuomo-do-now" target="_blank">as much as he can</a> without the Legislature, as he's indicated with recent decisions to convene a wage board looking at the minimum wage for fast-food workers.</p> <p><strong>DE BLASIO TO DC</strong>: Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading back to Washington, DC this week. On Tuesday he'll unveil the <strong>"Progressive Agenda"</strong> that he and collaborators from around the country have put together. A liberal version of the 1994 Republican "Contract with America," it will focus on reducing inequality and creating opportunity. The mayor has argued that a national progressive movement can be extremely helpful to his work in New York. De Blasio will reportedly also head to California this week, where he will speak at his daughter's school, Santa Clara University.</p> <p>Meanwhile, it promises to be another busy week in the City of New York itself, with the City Council in action, many events and rallies around the city, and continued analysis of de Blasio's recently unveiled fiscal year 2016 Executive Budget leading up to the start of council hearings on the budget, which start May 18, and a final budget deal by the end of June.</p> <p>Public Advocate Letitia James is due back from Israel this week, she's been there on a nine-day visit.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - see our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday <a href="http://www.eleanorslegacy.com/spring-breakfast" target="_blank">morning</a>, Eleanor’s Legacy will host its Spring Breakfast honoring Congressional Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and featuring appearances from Congressional Reps. Nita Lowey, Grace Meng, Louise Slaughter, and Nydia Velazquez, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List.</p> <p>Mark-Viverito has a busy Monday: in addition to the Eleanor's Legacy event, the speaker will be&nbsp;speaking "at MOVE Systems Press Conference to Announce Food Cart Pilot Program" at City Hall; speaking at "Press Conference to Announce the Grand Marshals for the 2015 National Puerto Rican Day Parade; speaking "at New York City Council Jewish Heritage Event" at City Hall, and <a href="http://www.bronxnet.org/" target="_blank">appearing</a> "Live on BronxTalk" at 9 p.m.</p> <p>On Monday at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall,&nbsp;"workplace safety advocates will unveil the latest alarming findings from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health's "Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC...Advocates will call for: public agencies to stop awarding taxpayer dollars and public contracts to repeat safety offenders; prosecutors to use criminal statutes to go after contractors who violate safety regulations; increased resources for OSHA inspectors to spot problems before they become fatalities; and elected officials to keep a strong Scaffold Safety Law, which holds those who control construction sites responsible if they fail to provide proper safety equipment and a worker is injured or killed as a result."</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Monday, "Governor Cuomo Makes an Announcement Regarding the Enough is Enough Campaign" at FIT in Manhattan.</p> <p>At about 10:30 Monday morning, "The New York City Independent Budget Office will release a report...that examines the city's provision of mental health and discharge planning services in the jail system. The report specifically looks at these services in relation to the city meeting its obligations under the Brad H. court settlement and provides data on the number of inmates eligible for and receiving mental health and discharge planning services in 2009 and 2013. Details on city spending are also included."</p> <p>At 11 a.m. on Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer&nbsp;will hold a "Press Conference Kicking Off Shred It Events with AARP" at Union Settlement, 237 East 104th Street. On Monday evening, Stringer will "Holds a Town Hall at Big Six Towers" in Woodside.</p> <p>"On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will visit Corona Family Residence, a homeless facility in Queens...After the visit, the Mayor will hold a media availability to make an announcement related to homelessness" at about 1:30 p.m., according to his public schedule.</p> <p>On Monday at 2 p.m. at City Hall,&nbsp;"leading housing coalitions and labor leaders to announce massive mobilization for stronger rent laws," specifically a march on Thursday "to demand laws that can keep NYC affordable for working people."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule will include&nbsp;"the Committee on Housing and Buildings will hold a hearing on Introduction 222-2014, in relation to amending the obligation of owners to provide notice to their tenants for service interruptions, and Introduction 592-2014, in relation to preservation of hotels. The Committee on Housing and Buildings will also hold an oversight hearing on construction safety.</p> <p>"The Committee on Environmental Protection will hold a hearing on Introduction 240-2014, in relation to filing semiannual reports on catch basin cleanup and maintenance, and Resolution 549-2015 calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the application by Liberty Natural Gas, LLC to construct the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of New York.</p> <p>"The Committee on General Welfare and the Committee on Governmental Operations will hold a joint hearing on Introduction 251-2014, in relation to the collection of demographic data regarding numerous Asian Pacific American sub-demographic groups, Introduction 551-2014, in relation to requiring city agencies to amend their official forms and databases to accommodate multiracial identification where racial identification is required, Introduction 552-2014, in relation to collecting and reporting data related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and Resolution 472-2014 calling on the state and federal governments to amend their official forms and databases to accommodate multiracial identification in all instances where racial identification is required."</p> <p>On Monday, the state Legislature is in session in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, “Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Tish James, the New York City Council Jewish Caucus, and members of the New York City Council cordially invite you to a Jewish Heritage Month Celebration, featuring special guest speaker Dr. Ruth Westheimer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4-3/?instance_id=800" target="_blank">evening</a>, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Board Meeting.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/762574073862914/" target="_blank">evening</a>, the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit (CAU), in collaboration with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual &amp; Transgender Community Center, will host an LGBT City Agencies and Community Meet &amp; Greet: “Meet and connect with all of New York City's LGBT focused agency representatives and learn about all the services and resources city agencies have to offer to the LGBT community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="https://www.nypressclub.org/index.php" target="_blank">6:30 p.m.</a> Monday, the New York Press Club will host the panel event, “The Investigators,” where a “panel of investigative reporters will discuss the state of their art in contemporary New York, joined by the City's new Investigations Commissioner, Mark G. Peters.” Panelists will include Greg Smith of New York Daily News, William Rashbaum and Michael Schwirtz of The New York Times, and Murray Weiss of DNAinfo.com New York, and the panel will be moderated by Tom Robbins.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday <a href="http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ah_2015.htm" target="_blank">evening</a> at 6:30 p.m., the Manhattan Institute will hold its Fifteenth Annual Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner, honoring Senior Fellow at Manhattan Institute and Co-Author of 'Broken Windows Policing,' George Kelling, and Founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, Eva Moskowitz, “for Their Dedication to Increasing Safety and Opportunity in New York...The Alexander Hamilton Award was created to honor those individuals helping to foster the revitalization of our nation’s cities.”</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Mayor de Blasio will be in Washington, DC on Tuesday: <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/bill-de-blasio-nyc-contract-with-america-new-york-117676.html#ixzz3ZhdsGkqY" target="_blank">according to</a> POLITICO, early in the day he'll appear at a Roosevelt Institute event with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others, and then he&nbsp;"will hold a 3 p.m. news conference outside the U.S. Capitol with labor leaders, Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists to unveil his "Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality.""</p> <p>From the mayor's office:&nbsp;"On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio will travel to Washington, D.C. to unveil The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality. There will be two events. In the morning, the Mayor will deliver remarks at the National Press Club. This event, hosted by the Roosevelt Institute, will also feature Nobel Prize winning economist and professor Joseph Stiglitz and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. In the afternoon, the Mayor will make an announcement at the House Triangle near the U.S. Capitol Building steps."</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=170" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Association for a Better New York will host a “breakfast with Scott Rechler,” who will "provide a regional perspective for addressing New York's competitive challenges and opportunities. He will also outline reforms underway at the Port Authority as well as priorities and goals for the Port Authority and for the region going forward.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3/?instance_id=798" target="_blank">9:30 a.m</a>. Tuesday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Cabinet Meeting.</p> <p>Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=397354&amp;GUID=78F37BCD-63B5-457D-BD6D-3F54CE73EE9F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">joint hearing</a> of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, the Committee on Public Safety, the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, and the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services to “examine New York City’s action plan” on behavioral health and the criminal justice system.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the state Legislature is in session in Albany.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio "will be joined by a bipartisan coalition of mayors from around the country for meetings with Congressional leadership to call for a six-year transportation authorization that significantly increases federal transportation investments. Wednesday afternoon, the mayors will hold a press conference at the U.S. Capitol. Additional details regarding Mayor de Blasio's schedule while in Washington will be released as they become available." Later on Wednesday, "Mayor de Blasio will travel to Santa Clara, California."</p> <p>"Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams announced Brooklyn Job Fair 2015, an opportunity for Brooklynites to come to Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday, May 13th from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM and apply for positions at some of New York City's major businesses. This networking event is being co-hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and is part of a sustained effort by Borough President Adams to advance hiring of local residents through the borough. According to statistics by the New York State Department of Labor, Brooklyn's unemployment rate in March 2015 was 6.7%, a higher number than that of the city and the state."</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday, City and State, in collaboration with the Bronx Borough President’s Office, will host an <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VUypLNNVikq" target="_blank">event</a> in celebration of its first ever Bronx Special Issue publication: “City &amp; State will publish our first ever special issue covering everything Bronx. This special print edition will feature comprehensive coverage of major issues and industries in the Bronx, perspectives from every Bronx elected official and much more! This print edition will be launched City &amp; State’s first ever Bronx-based event that will correspond with Bronx week.” Attendees will include Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., SOMOS Chair and Bronx Democratic Party Chair Marcos Crespo, State Senator Jeff Klein, and Kyle Kimball, President of the New York City Economic Development.</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=he" target="_blank">noon</a> Wednesday, the Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will meet for a hearing on “Bridging the Employment Gap.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The state Legislature is due to be in session on Wednesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.cooper.edu/events-and-exhibitions/events/zephyr-teachout-monopoly-moment-new-anti-trust-paradox" target="_blank">evening</a>, Cooper Union will host "The Monopoly Moment: The New Anti-Trust Paradox" featuring Fordham Law professor and former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Wednesday <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/identifying-contracting-opportunities-at-cuny-nys-and-the-us-federal-government-for-veteran-owned-tickets-15919056326" target="_blank">evening</a>, Vets GSA in partnership with CUNY and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will host “a workshop and seminar that will be focusing on identifying contracting opportunities for New York State and the US Federal Government for Veteran Owned Businesses...This session will provide information for Services Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses and Veteran Owned Small Business to make them award or the multitude of open source business development intelligence websites that can be used to assist in the increasing the businesses ability to assess competition and identify and bid on viable opportunities.”</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>Thursday <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=he" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Senate Standing Committee on Codes, the Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protection, and the Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, will hold a joint hearing regarding “Cyber Security in New York State as it Relates to Businesses and the Private Sector.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2271080&amp;GUID=C51CF8CD-5791-4138-AF95-BA337B9142BD&amp;Options=&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Finance “concerning amendments to the District Plan of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District” and a full-body Stated Meeting at 1:30 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="https://actionnetwork.org/events/march-to-savenyc-stronger-rent-laws-now" target="_blank">5:00 p.m.</a> Thursday, New York Communities for Change, Real Rent Reform Campaign, and Alliance for Tenant Power will host “Rally to Save NYC..Landlords and developers are taking our neighborhoods away from us. The affordable housing crisis and gentrification have brought millions of New Yorkers to a breaking point. If we don’t win stronger rent laws in June, our city will be lost. This is our last chance to hold onto the place we call home.” There <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1427067027598490/" target="_blank">will be</a> a rally in Foley Square, followed by a march.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Thursday evening, Manhattan BP Brewer&nbsp;will speak "at American Planning Association panel discussion on 421-a and rent stabilization, Rudin Family Forum at the Puck Building."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday <a href="http://www.manhattan-institute.org/events/cmp_05-15-15.htm" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research will host “New York’s Next Health Care Revolution: How Employers Can Help Empower Patients and Consumers...In a just-released collection of essays published by the Manhattan Institute, a group of leading experts offer a clear diagnosis of New York’s health care ills, as well as a menu of concise, actionable reforms that employers and policymakers can use to make the Empire State’s health care system truly patient-and consumer-centered.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday <a href="http://files.ctctcdn.com/94e27db1401/e58045fc-9536-45b2-827d-f5601badb114.pdf" target="_blank">morning</a>, Brooklyn BP Adams, in coordination with The Youth Council on Community Engagement, will host “Youth Participation on Community Boards Boot Camp...Brooklyn’s youth ages 16 – 25 and those who work with youth are invited to learn about civic engagement and how their local community board addresses the issues in their neighborhood.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#1" target="_blank">evening</a>, Lea DeLaria (of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black) and the Empire State Pride Agenda will host its Spring Dinner at Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center: “The Empire State Pride Agenda is New York’s statewide civil rights and advocacy group dedicated to winning equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers and our families.” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will provide the evening’s keynote.</p> <p>Also Saturday evening, City Council Member Jumaane Williams and supporters will host a 39th birthday celebration/fundraiser for Williams: “Join us as we celebrate one of the most progressive and visionary public servants representing New York City communities today. Help fundraise to support the future of Brooklyn's rising star in government and invest in OUR future!”</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Shannon Ho, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to look for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>SKELOS WATCH:</strong> The fallout from Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' arrest on federal corruption charges continues, with Skelos facing increased pressure to step down from his leadership post. The Legislature is back in session in Albany on Monday, it seems that it is only a matter of time before Skelos takes the path indicted Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took after his arrest: becoming a rank-and-file member of his body while a colleague ascends to the throne. [Read <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5710-dean-skelos-thwarted-reform-and-maintained-power-despite-the-odds" target="_blank">our in-depth look at how Skelos came to power and what he's done over the years to maintain it</a>]</p> <p>Meanwhile, there are only about <strong>five weeks left in the legislative session</strong> and for any real policy work to get done, the Senate leadership must be stabilized. There are a whole host of issues that lawmakers and advocates want to see action on, but in order for anything to really get done, it will come down to negotiations among Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and the leader of the Senate, whether it is Skelos or a replacement. Some of the <strong>key issues on the negotiating table</strong> include <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5702-quiet-early-in-new-phase-of-mayoral-control-debate-de-blasio-bloomberg" target="_blank">mayoral control</a> of New York City schools, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5716-tenant-advocates-seize-on-scandal-in-push-for-stronger-rent-laws" target="_blank">rent laws</a> and the 421-A tax break for real estate development, 'raise the age' and other <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5694-criminal-justice-reformers-look-to-impact-albany-as-legislators-return-to-session" target="_blank">criminal justice reforms</a>, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5709-even-amid-albany-dysfunction-advocates-forge-path-to-paid-family-leave" target="_blank">paid family leave</a>, the minimum wage, and more. It doesn't seem anything else will be done on <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5696-with-another-llc-loophole-vote-coming-dwindling-optimism-about-any-campaign-finance-reform" target="_blank">the ethics reform front</a>, even though there is more and more <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5696-with-another-llc-loophole-vote-coming-dwindling-optimism-about-any-campaign-finance-reform" target="_blank">scrutiny on the LLC loophole</a> and the problems with the influence of campaign donations and donors. Gov. <strong>Cuomo is in a tough spot</strong>, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5713-amid-further-ethics-scandal-what-can-cuomo-do-now" target="_blank">the worse Albany looks the worse he looks</a>, and he also wants to get more legislation done before the end of session, but his hands are tied as the Senate deals with the upheaval of Skelos' arrest. The governor may just resort to doing <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5713-amid-further-ethics-scandal-what-can-cuomo-do-now" target="_blank">as much as he can</a> without the Legislature, as he's indicated with recent decisions to convene a wage board looking at the minimum wage for fast-food workers.</p> <p><strong>DE BLASIO TO DC</strong>: Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading back to Washington, DC this week. On Tuesday he'll unveil the <strong>"Progressive Agenda"</strong> that he and collaborators from around the country have put together. A liberal version of the 1994 Republican "Contract with America," it will focus on reducing inequality and creating opportunity. The mayor has argued that a national progressive movement can be extremely helpful to his work in New York. De Blasio will reportedly also head to California this week, where he will speak at his daughter's school, Santa Clara University.</p> <p>Meanwhile, it promises to be another busy week in the City of New York itself, with the City Council in action, many events and rallies around the city, and continued analysis of de Blasio's recently unveiled fiscal year 2016 Executive Budget leading up to the start of council hearings on the budget, which start May 18, and a final budget deal by the end of June.</p> <p>Public Advocate Letitia James is due back from Israel this week, she's been there on a nine-day visit.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - see our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Monday <a href="http://www.eleanorslegacy.com/spring-breakfast" target="_blank">morning</a>, Eleanor’s Legacy will host its Spring Breakfast honoring Congressional Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and featuring appearances from Congressional Reps. Nita Lowey, Grace Meng, Louise Slaughter, and Nydia Velazquez, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List.</p> <p>Mark-Viverito has a busy Monday: in addition to the Eleanor's Legacy event, the speaker will be&nbsp;speaking "at MOVE Systems Press Conference to Announce Food Cart Pilot Program" at City Hall; speaking at "Press Conference to Announce the Grand Marshals for the 2015 National Puerto Rican Day Parade; speaking "at New York City Council Jewish Heritage Event" at City Hall, and <a href="http://www.bronxnet.org/" target="_blank">appearing</a> "Live on BronxTalk" at 9 p.m.</p> <p>On Monday at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall,&nbsp;"workplace safety advocates will unveil the latest alarming findings from the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health's "Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC...Advocates will call for: public agencies to stop awarding taxpayer dollars and public contracts to repeat safety offenders; prosecutors to use criminal statutes to go after contractors who violate safety regulations; increased resources for OSHA inspectors to spot problems before they become fatalities; and elected officials to keep a strong Scaffold Safety Law, which holds those who control construction sites responsible if they fail to provide proper safety equipment and a worker is injured or killed as a result."</p> <p>At 10 a.m. Monday, "Governor Cuomo Makes an Announcement Regarding the Enough is Enough Campaign" at FIT in Manhattan.</p> <p>At about 10:30 Monday morning, "The New York City Independent Budget Office will release a report...that examines the city's provision of mental health and discharge planning services in the jail system. The report specifically looks at these services in relation to the city meeting its obligations under the Brad H. court settlement and provides data on the number of inmates eligible for and receiving mental health and discharge planning services in 2009 and 2013. Details on city spending are also included."</p> <p>At 11 a.m. on Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer&nbsp;will hold a "Press Conference Kicking Off Shred It Events with AARP" at Union Settlement, 237 East 104th Street. On Monday evening, Stringer will "Holds a Town Hall at Big Six Towers" in Woodside.</p> <p>"On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will visit Corona Family Residence, a homeless facility in Queens...After the visit, the Mayor will hold a media availability to make an announcement related to homelessness" at about 1:30 p.m., according to his public schedule.</p> <p>On Monday at 2 p.m. at City Hall,&nbsp;"leading housing coalitions and labor leaders to announce massive mobilization for stronger rent laws," specifically a march on Thursday "to demand laws that can keep NYC affordable for working people."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council schedule will include&nbsp;"the Committee on Housing and Buildings will hold a hearing on Introduction 222-2014, in relation to amending the obligation of owners to provide notice to their tenants for service interruptions, and Introduction 592-2014, in relation to preservation of hotels. The Committee on Housing and Buildings will also hold an oversight hearing on construction safety.</p> <p>"The Committee on Environmental Protection will hold a hearing on Introduction 240-2014, in relation to filing semiannual reports on catch basin cleanup and maintenance, and Resolution 549-2015 calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto the application by Liberty Natural Gas, LLC to construct the Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of New York.</p> <p>"The Committee on General Welfare and the Committee on Governmental Operations will hold a joint hearing on Introduction 251-2014, in relation to the collection of demographic data regarding numerous Asian Pacific American sub-demographic groups, Introduction 551-2014, in relation to requiring city agencies to amend their official forms and databases to accommodate multiracial identification where racial identification is required, Introduction 552-2014, in relation to collecting and reporting data related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and Resolution 472-2014 calling on the state and federal governments to amend their official forms and databases to accommodate multiracial identification in all instances where racial identification is required."</p> <p>On Monday, the state Legislature is in session in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, “Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Tish James, the New York City Council Jewish Caucus, and members of the New York City Council cordially invite you to a Jewish Heritage Month Celebration, featuring special guest speaker Dr. Ruth Westheimer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4-3/?instance_id=800" target="_blank">evening</a>, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Board Meeting.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/762574073862914/" target="_blank">evening</a>, the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit (CAU), in collaboration with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual &amp; Transgender Community Center, will host an LGBT City Agencies and Community Meet &amp; Greet: “Meet and connect with all of New York City's LGBT focused agency representatives and learn about all the services and resources city agencies have to offer to the LGBT community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="https://www.nypressclub.org/index.php" target="_blank">6:30 p.m.</a> Monday, the New York Press Club will host the panel event, “The Investigators,” where a “panel of investigative reporters will discuss the state of their art in contemporary New York, joined by the City's new Investigations Commissioner, Mark G. Peters.” Panelists will include Greg Smith of New York Daily News, William Rashbaum and Michael Schwirtz of The New York Times, and Murray Weiss of DNAinfo.com New York, and the panel will be moderated by Tom Robbins.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Monday <a href="http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ah_2015.htm" target="_blank">evening</a> at 6:30 p.m., the Manhattan Institute will hold its Fifteenth Annual Alexander Hamilton Award Dinner, honoring Senior Fellow at Manhattan Institute and Co-Author of 'Broken Windows Policing,' George Kelling, and Founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, Eva Moskowitz, “for Their Dedication to Increasing Safety and Opportunity in New York...The Alexander Hamilton Award was created to honor those individuals helping to foster the revitalization of our nation’s cities.”</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Mayor de Blasio will be in Washington, DC on Tuesday: <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/bill-de-blasio-nyc-contract-with-america-new-york-117676.html#ixzz3ZhdsGkqY" target="_blank">according to</a> POLITICO, early in the day he'll appear at a Roosevelt Institute event with Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others, and then he&nbsp;"will hold a 3 p.m. news conference outside the U.S. Capitol with labor leaders, Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists to unveil his "Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality.""</p> <p>From the mayor's office:&nbsp;"On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio will travel to Washington, D.C. to unveil The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality. There will be two events. In the morning, the Mayor will deliver remarks at the National Press Club. This event, hosted by the Roosevelt Institute, will also feature Nobel Prize winning economist and professor Joseph Stiglitz and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. In the afternoon, the Mayor will make an announcement at the House Triangle near the U.S. Capitol Building steps."</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday <a href="https://www.abny.org/Content/Events/EventViewer.aspx?EventID=170" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Association for a Better New York will host a “breakfast with Scott Rechler,” who will "provide a regional perspective for addressing New York's competitive challenges and opportunities. He will also outline reforms underway at the Port Authority as well as priorities and goals for the Port Authority and for the region going forward.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3/?instance_id=798" target="_blank">9:30 a.m</a>. Tuesday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Queens Borough Cabinet Meeting.</p> <p>Tuesday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=397354&amp;GUID=78F37BCD-63B5-457D-BD6D-3F54CE73EE9F&amp;Options=info|&amp;Search=" target="_blank">joint hearing</a> of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, the Committee on Public Safety, the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, and the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services to “examine New York City’s action plan” on behavioral health and the criminal justice system.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the state Legislature is in session in Albany.</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio "will be joined by a bipartisan coalition of mayors from around the country for meetings with Congressional leadership to call for a six-year transportation authorization that significantly increases federal transportation investments. Wednesday afternoon, the mayors will hold a press conference at the U.S. Capitol. Additional details regarding Mayor de Blasio's schedule while in Washington will be released as they become available." Later on Wednesday, "Mayor de Blasio will travel to Santa Clara, California."</p> <p>"Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams announced Brooklyn Job Fair 2015, an opportunity for Brooklynites to come to Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday, May 13th from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM and apply for positions at some of New York City's major businesses. This networking event is being co-hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and is part of a sustained effort by Borough President Adams to advance hiring of local residents through the borough. According to statistics by the New York State Department of Labor, Brooklyn's unemployment rate in March 2015 was 6.7%, a higher number than that of the city and the state."</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday, City and State, in collaboration with the Bronx Borough President’s Office, will host an <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#.VUypLNNVikq" target="_blank">event</a> in celebration of its first ever Bronx Special Issue publication: “City &amp; State will publish our first ever special issue covering everything Bronx. This special print edition will feature comprehensive coverage of major issues and industries in the Bronx, perspectives from every Bronx elected official and much more! This print edition will be launched City &amp; State’s first ever Bronx-based event that will correspond with Bronx week.” Attendees will include Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., SOMOS Chair and Bronx Democratic Party Chair Marcos Crespo, State Senator Jeff Klein, and Kyle Kimball, President of the New York City Economic Development.</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=he" target="_blank">noon</a> Wednesday, the Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will meet for a hearing on “Bridging the Employment Gap.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The state Legislature is due to be in session on Wednesday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday <a href="http://www.cooper.edu/events-and-exhibitions/events/zephyr-teachout-monopoly-moment-new-anti-trust-paradox" target="_blank">evening</a>, Cooper Union will host "The Monopoly Moment: The New Anti-Trust Paradox" featuring Fordham Law professor and former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also Wednesday <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/identifying-contracting-opportunities-at-cuny-nys-and-the-us-federal-government-for-veteran-owned-tickets-15919056326" target="_blank">evening</a>, Vets GSA in partnership with CUNY and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will host “a workshop and seminar that will be focusing on identifying contracting opportunities for New York State and the US Federal Government for Veteran Owned Businesses...This session will provide information for Services Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses and Veteran Owned Small Business to make them award or the multitude of open source business development intelligence websites that can be used to assist in the increasing the businesses ability to assess competition and identify and bid on viable opportunities.”</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>Thursday <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=he" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Senate Standing Committee on Codes, the Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protection, and the Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, will hold a joint hearing regarding “Cyber Security in New York State as it Relates to Businesses and the Private Sector.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council schedule will include a <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2271080&amp;GUID=C51CF8CD-5791-4138-AF95-BA337B9142BD&amp;Options=&amp;Search=" target="_blank">meeting</a> of the Committee on Finance “concerning amendments to the District Plan of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District” and a full-body Stated Meeting at 1:30 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">At <a href="https://actionnetwork.org/events/march-to-savenyc-stronger-rent-laws-now" target="_blank">5:00 p.m.</a> Thursday, New York Communities for Change, Real Rent Reform Campaign, and Alliance for Tenant Power will host “Rally to Save NYC..Landlords and developers are taking our neighborhoods away from us. The affordable housing crisis and gentrification have brought millions of New Yorkers to a breaking point. If we don’t win stronger rent laws in June, our city will be lost. This is our last chance to hold onto the place we call home.” There <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1427067027598490/" target="_blank">will be</a> a rally in Foley Square, followed by a march.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Thursday evening, Manhattan BP Brewer&nbsp;will speak "at American Planning Association panel discussion on 421-a and rent stabilization, Rudin Family Forum at the Puck Building."</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday <a href="http://www.manhattan-institute.org/events/cmp_05-15-15.htm" target="_blank">morning</a>, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research will host “New York’s Next Health Care Revolution: How Employers Can Help Empower Patients and Consumers...In a just-released collection of essays published by the Manhattan Institute, a group of leading experts offer a clear diagnosis of New York’s health care ills, as well as a menu of concise, actionable reforms that employers and policymakers can use to make the Empire State’s health care system truly patient-and consumer-centered.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Saturday <a href="http://files.ctctcdn.com/94e27db1401/e58045fc-9536-45b2-827d-f5601badb114.pdf" target="_blank">morning</a>, Brooklyn BP Adams, in coordination with The Youth Council on Community Engagement, will host “Youth Participation on Community Boards Boot Camp...Brooklyn’s youth ages 16 – 25 and those who work with youth are invited to learn about civic engagement and how their local community board addresses the issues in their neighborhood.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#1" target="_blank">evening</a>, Lea DeLaria (of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black) and the Empire State Pride Agenda will host its Spring Dinner at Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center: “The Empire State Pride Agenda is New York’s statewide civil rights and advocacy group dedicated to winning equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers and our families.” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will provide the evening’s keynote.</p> <p>Also Saturday evening, City Council Member Jumaane Williams and supporters will host a 39th birthday celebration/fundraiser for Williams: “Join us as we celebrate one of the most progressive and visionary public servants representing New York City communities today. Help fundraise to support the future of Brooklyn's rising star in government and invest in OUR future!”</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Shannon Ho, Marco Poggio, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Tenant Advocates Seize on Scandal in Push for Stronger Rent Laws 2015-05-08T01:59:45+00:00 2015-05-08T01:59:45+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5716:tenant-advocates-seize-on-scandal-in-push-for-stronger-rent-laws Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/make_the_road_activists.jpg" alt="make the road activists" height="338" width="600" /></p> <p>Make the Road activists (photo: @Met_Council)</p> <hr /> <p>Tenant advocates, angered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent comments that they see as favoring landlords and the real estate industry, protested outside his Manhattan office on Wednesday afternoon.</p> <p>The action, which featured members of Metropolitan Council on Housing, Tenants and Neighbors, and Make the Road New York, is the first in what will be an onslaught targeting Cuomo and bringing up his close ties to the real estate industry, especially the fact that his biggest donor is Glenwood Management, the group tied to the federal complaints against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.</p> <p>As legislative session continues in Albany and key housing-related legislation is set to expire, advocates want to see an end to the 421-A tax break for developers and strengthening of rent regulations.</p> <p>Cuomo told The Association for a Better New York on April 24 that dysfunction in Albany <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rent-talks-hampered-federal-probe-cuomo-article-1.2198513" target="_blank">could lead</a> to a straight extension of the rent laws and the controversial 421-A program that has also been at issue in the Silver and Skelos investigations. Tenant activists have taken Cuomo's comments and the possibility of his prediction coming true as an assault on their goals.</p> <p>"The governor's comments were unacceptable," Javier Valdes, co-executive director of Make The Road New York, told Gotham Gazette. "It shows a real disconnect about the crisis that is going on for tenants in New York and the suburbs."</p> <p>Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for Change said that his organization hopes to pressure Skelos, a Republican, and Cuomo, a Democrat, on rent laws so that there isn't simply a straight extension. "The governor supports the status quo and make no mistake about it, the status quo is a victory for real estate interests. The status quo means thousands more affordable apartments lost," Westin told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Thomas Waters, housing policy analyst for The Community Service Society of New York, told Gotham Gazette he simply doesn't believe dysfunction is going to get in the way of negotiating the issue. "We saw how quickly the Assembly moved on from Silver's indictment," he said.</p> <p>The protesters circulated a letter to Cuomo on Monday that read in part, "We write to express our outrage over your recent comments that displayed, at best, indifference to New Yorkers who are struggling to pay their rent in rent-regulated apartments. Low- and moderate-income tenants who live in more than 1 million rent-regulated apartments are at a breaking point because of the failure of leadership in Albany."</p> <p>Tenant advocates are increasingly unnerved by Cuomo's comments about the rent laws, 421-A, and Skelos. On Wednesday Cuomo said he would negotiate with Skelos because he couldn't pick who runs the Senate and that 421-A must be extended. He also was asked to explain his relationship with Glenwood Management. "They are a donor of mine. They are a donor of many elected officials across the state, and that's basically the interaction," Cuomo <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567503/cuomo-says-hell-stay-course-421" target="_blank">said</a>. "I've had nothing to do [with them], except they've been political supporters of mine."</p> <p>Valdes said his group plans to convey to Cuomo that recent scandals have changed the playing field because they've exposed how things work in the backroom.</p> <p>"The governor made comments in Syracuse that 421-A has to be renewed and yet it is in the complaint against Senator Skelos where he is getting kickbacks from the real estate industry," said Valdes. "There is a major disconnect here. The governor is supporting the status quo and the status quo just won't cut it anymore. We won't stand for tax breaks that favor millionaire developers while our members are driven out of their apartments.</p> <p>The complaint against Skelos alleges that Glenwood, Cuomo's largest campaign donor, provided Skelos' son with $20,000 for doing no work after Skelos pressured Glenwood reps to provide his son with business.</p> <p>It appears one of Glenwood's higher-ups is now <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567320/albany-shivers-after-bharara-flips-major-donor" target="_blank">serving as a witness</a> and informant for federal investigators. Cuomo defended Glenwood during an appearance in Syracuse on Wednesday, <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567503/cuomo-says-hell-stay-course-421" target="_blank">saying</a> he would not return donations from the company and its main players because there was no proof of "wrongdoing."</p> <p>"The difference this year is that it is all out in the open," said Westin. "We see how the billionaire developers influence policy with campaign donations and illegal bribes and we aren't going to let it stand."</p> <p>Advocates plan a two-headed strategy with tenant advocates tying Cuomo to major real estate donors and legislators and union members pushing Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to play hardball when it comes time to negotiate the rent laws.</p> <p>"Carl can't just go in there with Cuomo and Skelos to negotiate," said Michael McKee, treasurer of Tenants PAC. "He has to take hostages. If they want to get anything they want, Carl has to get stronger rent laws. It's up to him."</p> <p>Last Friday, legislators, union heads, and Mayor Bill de Blasio came together <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5707-strategy-meetings-signal-coming-flurry-of-rent-law-lobbying" target="_blank">for a strategy meeting</a> on rent law lobbying. According to numerous sources, the meeting convened by 1199 SEIU was designed to involve more unions in the effort and convince union heads that the issue is critical to their members.</p> <p>On Tuesday, de Blasio issued a statement supporting stronger rent laws and advocating a number of specific policy points like reducing how much landlords can raise rent for repairs, ending high-rent vacancy decontrol, and eliminating landlord's ability to raise the rent of rent controlled apartments by 20 percent after it is vacated. He did, however, also argue for the extension of 421-A, as long as it is tied to more clear mandates for the affordable housing that is supposed to come with the tax benefits.&nbsp;"No more tax breaks without building affordable housing in return," de Blasio said in a statement <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/mayor-de-blasios-plan-aims-to-spur-more-affordable-housing-in-new-york.html?_r=0" target="_blank">to the New York Times</a>.</p> <p>"The biggest thing that has changed this time around is that we have the mayor on our side for the first time," said Waters, who said de Blasio is backing the choice measures out of the slate of policy reforms his organization supports. Getting over the hurdles of a Republican-controlled Senate and a real-estate friendly governor will not be easy, of course. Plus, many Democrats at all levels of government receive large donations from real estate interests.</p> <p>Landlord groups like the Rent Stabilization Association insist that a number of the measures in the rent laws that de Blasio and tenant advocates want eliminated are critical in allowing landlords to afford the costly maintenance of apartments. The RSA is currently running a television spot that laments the plight of landlords and Albany's inability to come up with a solution to help landlords maintain the housing stock.</p> <p>Valdes and Make the Road will be in Albany every Tuesday for the rest of session, they've said. Session is scheduled to go until mid-June, and advocates plan a large rally during the first week that month. Other rallies are expected across the city and in Albany, with major one in Manhattan's Foley Square on Thursday, May 14.</p> <p>Valdes said that his group sees an "affordability crisis" building across the city and the suburbs. "People used to think of this as a Manhattan problem but I can tell you it is an outerborough problem now."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/make_the_road_activists.jpg" alt="make the road activists" height="338" width="600" /></p> <p>Make the Road activists (photo: @Met_Council)</p> <hr /> <p>Tenant advocates, angered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent comments that they see as favoring landlords and the real estate industry, protested outside his Manhattan office on Wednesday afternoon.</p> <p>The action, which featured members of Metropolitan Council on Housing, Tenants and Neighbors, and Make the Road New York, is the first in what will be an onslaught targeting Cuomo and bringing up his close ties to the real estate industry, especially the fact that his biggest donor is Glenwood Management, the group tied to the federal complaints against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.</p> <p>As legislative session continues in Albany and key housing-related legislation is set to expire, advocates want to see an end to the 421-A tax break for developers and strengthening of rent regulations.</p> <p>Cuomo told The Association for a Better New York on April 24 that dysfunction in Albany <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rent-talks-hampered-federal-probe-cuomo-article-1.2198513" target="_blank">could lead</a> to a straight extension of the rent laws and the controversial 421-A program that has also been at issue in the Silver and Skelos investigations. Tenant activists have taken Cuomo's comments and the possibility of his prediction coming true as an assault on their goals.</p> <p>"The governor's comments were unacceptable," Javier Valdes, co-executive director of Make The Road New York, told Gotham Gazette. "It shows a real disconnect about the crisis that is going on for tenants in New York and the suburbs."</p> <p>Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for Change said that his organization hopes to pressure Skelos, a Republican, and Cuomo, a Democrat, on rent laws so that there isn't simply a straight extension. "The governor supports the status quo and make no mistake about it, the status quo is a victory for real estate interests. The status quo means thousands more affordable apartments lost," Westin told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p>Thomas Waters, housing policy analyst for The Community Service Society of New York, told Gotham Gazette he simply doesn't believe dysfunction is going to get in the way of negotiating the issue. "We saw how quickly the Assembly moved on from Silver's indictment," he said.</p> <p>The protesters circulated a letter to Cuomo on Monday that read in part, "We write to express our outrage over your recent comments that displayed, at best, indifference to New Yorkers who are struggling to pay their rent in rent-regulated apartments. Low- and moderate-income tenants who live in more than 1 million rent-regulated apartments are at a breaking point because of the failure of leadership in Albany."</p> <p>Tenant advocates are increasingly unnerved by Cuomo's comments about the rent laws, 421-A, and Skelos. On Wednesday Cuomo said he would negotiate with Skelos because he couldn't pick who runs the Senate and that 421-A must be extended. He also was asked to explain his relationship with Glenwood Management. "They are a donor of mine. They are a donor of many elected officials across the state, and that's basically the interaction," Cuomo <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567503/cuomo-says-hell-stay-course-421" target="_blank">said</a>. "I've had nothing to do [with them], except they've been political supporters of mine."</p> <p>Valdes said his group plans to convey to Cuomo that recent scandals have changed the playing field because they've exposed how things work in the backroom.</p> <p>"The governor made comments in Syracuse that 421-A has to be renewed and yet it is in the complaint against Senator Skelos where he is getting kickbacks from the real estate industry," said Valdes. "There is a major disconnect here. The governor is supporting the status quo and the status quo just won't cut it anymore. We won't stand for tax breaks that favor millionaire developers while our members are driven out of their apartments.</p> <p>The complaint against Skelos alleges that Glenwood, Cuomo's largest campaign donor, provided Skelos' son with $20,000 for doing no work after Skelos pressured Glenwood reps to provide his son with business.</p> <p>It appears one of Glenwood's higher-ups is now <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567320/albany-shivers-after-bharara-flips-major-donor" target="_blank">serving as a witness</a> and informant for federal investigators. Cuomo defended Glenwood during an appearance in Syracuse on Wednesday, <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567503/cuomo-says-hell-stay-course-421" target="_blank">saying</a> he would not return donations from the company and its main players because there was no proof of "wrongdoing."</p> <p>"The difference this year is that it is all out in the open," said Westin. "We see how the billionaire developers influence policy with campaign donations and illegal bribes and we aren't going to let it stand."</p> <p>Advocates plan a two-headed strategy with tenant advocates tying Cuomo to major real estate donors and legislators and union members pushing Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to play hardball when it comes time to negotiate the rent laws.</p> <p>"Carl can't just go in there with Cuomo and Skelos to negotiate," said Michael McKee, treasurer of Tenants PAC. "He has to take hostages. If they want to get anything they want, Carl has to get stronger rent laws. It's up to him."</p> <p>Last Friday, legislators, union heads, and Mayor Bill de Blasio came together <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5707-strategy-meetings-signal-coming-flurry-of-rent-law-lobbying" target="_blank">for a strategy meeting</a> on rent law lobbying. According to numerous sources, the meeting convened by 1199 SEIU was designed to involve more unions in the effort and convince union heads that the issue is critical to their members.</p> <p>On Tuesday, de Blasio issued a statement supporting stronger rent laws and advocating a number of specific policy points like reducing how much landlords can raise rent for repairs, ending high-rent vacancy decontrol, and eliminating landlord's ability to raise the rent of rent controlled apartments by 20 percent after it is vacated. He did, however, also argue for the extension of 421-A, as long as it is tied to more clear mandates for the affordable housing that is supposed to come with the tax benefits.&nbsp;"No more tax breaks without building affordable housing in return," de Blasio said in a statement <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/mayor-de-blasios-plan-aims-to-spur-more-affordable-housing-in-new-york.html?_r=0" target="_blank">to the New York Times</a>.</p> <p>"The biggest thing that has changed this time around is that we have the mayor on our side for the first time," said Waters, who said de Blasio is backing the choice measures out of the slate of policy reforms his organization supports. Getting over the hurdles of a Republican-controlled Senate and a real-estate friendly governor will not be easy, of course. Plus, many Democrats at all levels of government receive large donations from real estate interests.</p> <p>Landlord groups like the Rent Stabilization Association insist that a number of the measures in the rent laws that de Blasio and tenant advocates want eliminated are critical in allowing landlords to afford the costly maintenance of apartments. The RSA is currently running a television spot that laments the plight of landlords and Albany's inability to come up with a solution to help landlords maintain the housing stock.</p> <p>Valdes and Make the Road will be in Albany every Tuesday for the rest of session, they've said. Session is scheduled to go until mid-June, and advocates plan a large rally during the first week that month. Other rallies are expected across the city and in Albany, with major one in Manhattan's Foley Square on Thursday, May 14.</p> <p>Valdes said that his group sees an "affordability crisis" building across the city and the suburbs. "People used to think of this as a Manhattan problem but I can tell you it is an outerborough problem now."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p>