Tenants' PAC Announces it's 2017 Endorsement Process:
To candidates for New York City Council:
Attached is a questionnaire which we invite you to complete. Beginning in June and continuing through July, Tenants Political Action Committee plans to endorse candidates for City Council in selected races in the September 12 primary.
Decisions on endorsements will be based on answers to the questionnaire and on discussion with candidates at interviews with the Tenants PAC board of directors. We will offer an interview to any candidate who (a) submits a completed questionnaire, and (b) is participating in the City’s public financing system. The same goes for endorsements in the November 7 general election.
We are looking for candidates who will lead the fight to reverse the phaseout of our rent and eviction protection laws that began with the New York City Council’s vote for permanent Vacancy Destabilization in 1994. Please note that it was not the Republicans in Albany, but the Democrats in the City Council, led by then-Speaker Peter Vallone, who struck the first blow in the real estate industry’s campaign to end all rent and eviction protection laws. Permanent Vacancy Deregulation passed by a vote of 28 to 18.
Since 1994 New York City has lost at least 300,000 affordable apartments which have been converted from rent regulated to market rent status, and we lose more every time an apartment becomes vacant. Despite the attempts of the real estate lobby and some politicians to paint this loss as affecting only “rich” tenants in Manhattan, in fact Vacancy Destabilization has nothing to do with any tenants’ income, but only with the fact that the apartment turns over.
(Median income for rent-stabilized households was $40,600 in 2013; median income for rent-controlled households in 2013 was $29,000, according to the 2014 NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey. The U.S. Census Bureau is currently undertaking field work for the 2017 NYC HVS, which will be released in time for the City Council to renew the city rent laws in March 2018.)
Vacancy destabilization has greatly reduced affordable housing options in all five boroughs, and after it was expanded in 1997 by Gov. George Pataki and the state legislature, in the suburban counties of Nassau, Rockland and Westchester. Unfortunately, having done the damage in 1994, later compounded by Albany, the City Council and Mayor lack the legal power to correct it. Only the state legislature can repeal Vacancy Deregulation and close other loopholes in the rent protection laws.
We are also looking for candidates who will oppose over-development and inappropriate development, as well as candidates who will fight to end the misuse of our tax levy funds to subsidize luxury housing, and re-direct these tax subsidies to low-income and moderate-income housing.
In other words, we are looking for City Council candidates who will be visible and vocal advocates for tenants, for preserving our affordable housing stock, for creating new low-income and moderate-income housing, and for preventing over-development and inappropriate development.
With some one million families in New York City living in rent regulated housing, and hundreds of thousands more in other forms of regulated housing, and hundreds of thousands more living in
unregulated housing without basic protections, your campaign will clearly benefit from presenting the strongest vision for addressing our housing crisis and the deepest commitment to renting families.
If you wish to meet with the Tenants PAC board and be considered for an endorsement, please return the completed questionnaire to:
Tenants Political Action Committee
Please take as much space as needed for each question. Please answer all questions to the best of your ability. Please email the questionnaire as an attachment as a Word file, and please note the suggested format for naming your file.
The deadline for return of the questionnaire is Friday, July 21, but the earlier you return it, the earlier we can schedule an interview.
Tenants PAC has already voted to endorse several City Council incumbents who are running for re-election.
For more information:
277 Broadway, Suite 608
New York, New York 10007