Politics & Tidbits: Playing chess in Albany

By Steven Sanders,

former Assembly member, 74th District

Steven Sanders

Steven Sanders

To begin to understand the machination of Albany politics especially with the state legislature, a basic understanding of chess is necessary. For they are based on the very same principles.

Chess is a game of strategy. Unlike other games, the moves made in chess are often times disguised and not always what they appear to be. First of all, in chess each player starts with 16 pieces. The pieces are of different values and are capable of making different moves across the 64 squared checkerboard. The goal in chess is to navigate across the board using your pieces in different ways to ultimately capture the opposing player’s “King.” Each player knows that in spite of starting out with 16 pieces they will lose some pieces along the way and even sacrifice some pieces in order to position themselves for victory.

To some extent that explains why Senator John Flanagan, the newly minted Senate (Republican) Majority Leader from Long Island, is so interested in New York City rent regulations. There are many more important local issues to Senator Flanagan’s constituents and fellow legislators from Nassau, Suffolk or upstate districts. But Flanagan is deftly holding on to the rent regulation issue near and dear to virtually every city legislator in the hopes of trading it or sacrificing it for something more important to his constituents and colleagues in the Senate. Each issue is like a chess piece. Each has a relative importance and each has a value if it is to be given up for something else.

No issue stands alone in Albany. Each issue is part of the bigger picture of what can be gained or lost in negotiations. This is probably also true of New York City mayoral control of the public schools which like New York City rent regulations must be renewed. It is very important to New York City politicians. But Flanagan and his mostly suburban and rural colleagues are holding on to both of those issues like a dog and its favorite bone.

Senator Flanagan cares much more about upstate property taxes and even some changes to the state’s restrictive gun laws (although that may now be a nonstarter following yet another gun tragedy, this time in a church in South Carolina). Flanagan also cares about upstate economic revitalization issues and even tax cuts to underwrite private and parochial school costs for parents who send their children to those schools or individuals who donate funds to those schools.

So the leaders in the Democratic Assembly led by Speaker Carl Heastie and the Senate leaders will move those issues along the checkerboard of negotiations knowing that to achieve their ultimate goals they will sacrifice some of those less important issue to gain more important issues for each of them. As for the governor, He will try to broker a deal that satisfies his political priorities by cobbling together issues that are of importance to the Assembly and the Senate that satisfies his political needs. In this case the governor is using the rent

regulation issue as leverage to procure approval from the Assembly on issues that it is less interested in, but ones that the governor has a great interest.

This is the traditional horse trading that has always been part of the Albany legislative culture of getting things done. But this gamesmanship causes great anxiety to ordinary citizens who feel like pawns in the game, especially one million New York City tenants.

Rent regulations and protections against eviction or huge increases in rents is a matter of life and death for many apartment dwellers.

So my advice to the leadership of Albany is to get this done this week and allow the people of the State of New York to proceed with their lives without the uncertainty and intrigue of Albany machinations.

Really, Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Heastie and Mr. Flanagan… this is not a game!

 

6 thoughts on “Politics & Tidbits: Playing chess in Albany

  1. Thank you Mr. Saunders!

    It just seems they have all forgotten de Blasio just tapped into the mass market, who understood better than any politician I can recall in recent history, if he got the Blacks, the Latinos and Hispanics to show up to vote, along with the middle classes, that 1 percent doesn’t get anyone elected. It’s in the math.

    I can only say as a Loft tenant in Tribeca that if they don’t strengthen the Rent Laws and the Loft Laws in a meaningful way we will show up jto vote them out of office. Enough is enough. There are innocent woman and children in these buildings. Everyone’s decided if they don’t get this right we won’t vote for them. it’d finally that simple.

    People are being forced out of their homes with horror stories over what their landlords, even developers, have don’t to them to get at the underlying leases. In our case our landlord almost killed us and countless others who had so many “accidents” and fires and so many buildings with big red X’s that were “no longer safe to enter”, evacuated, even demolshed, its finally criminal. The evidence is this fraud began when the Rent Laws and the Loft Laws were weakened in Albany in 2004 in 29 buildings.

    They can horse trade in Albany this time around. But we have all taken note. They won’t be in office the next time around if they don’t get this one right. Our landlord Century Realty Inc. emptied 29 buildings in a 200 million dollar fraud scheme, burnt their own real estate offices down at 140 Fulton, forcing 5 more families to the streets at 138 Fulton and dissolved the company. It’s just astounding.

    No one will tolerate 4 more years when landlords have finally stepped so far over the line to get at the underlying leases that landlord were finally willing to kill its tenants to get at the underlying leases. It’s finally criminal in many instances. They couldn’t pass a bill that Landlord Harassment was 50 million dollars over what our landlord has done in all these buildings to make this right. Landlords are finally so far over the line it’s criminal.

    Now it has finally gone so far that the banks and the insurance companies are finally being defrauded in many of these buildings, where even the developers they thought they were protecting in Albany, were defrauded where there are dozens of lawsuits over damage from adjacent property when absolutely nobody has this many “accident” and fires in this many buildings or this many buildings with big red X’s, evacuated and demolished or vactes 29 buildings legally. It is beyond atrocious.

    I don’t think history will be kind to Governor Cuomo if he can not get this right or to the Senate Leadership. The problem is they are all so busy thinking they could horse trade that they don’t realize it isn’t just the tenants who get hurt when the laws are weakened. It was the banks and the insurance companies and the developers who took the hit in many of buildings not just the tenants while lawsuit litter the Supreme Court halls. We have all had enough.

    It is beyond my comprehension how this was ever permitted to go this far in Albany after the 450 million dollar suit at Peter Cooper StuyTown. They are causing a level of fraud this country has never seen before the city is ill equipped to handle where it isn’t just the tenants who got hurt by a long shot.

    Best,

    385 Greenwich aka 71 N. Moore

  2. It just seems they have all forgotten de Blasio just tapped into the mass market, who understood better than any politician I can recall in recent history, if he got the Blacks, the Latinos and Hispanics to show up to vote, along with the middle classes, 1 percent doesn’t get anyone elected. It’s in the math.

    I can only say as a Loft tenant in Tribeca that if they don’t strengthen the Rent Laws and the Loft Laws in a meaningful way we will show up to vote them out of office. Enough is enough. There are innocent woman and children in these buildings. Everyone’s decided if they don’t get this right we won’t vote for them. It’s finally that simple.

    People are being forced out of their homes with horror stories over what their landlords, even developers, have done to them to get at the underlying leases. In our case our landlord almost killed us and countless others who had so many “accidents” and fires and so many buildings with big red X’s that were “no longer safe to enter”, evacuated, even demolshed, its finally criminal. The evidence is this fraud began when the Rent Laws and the Loft Laws were weakened in Albany in 2004 in 29 buildings.

    They can horse trade in Albany this time around. But we have all taken note. They won’t be in office the next time around if they don’t get this one right. Our landlord Century Realty Inc. emptied 29 buildings in a 200 million dollar fraud scheme, burnt their own real estate offices down at 140 Fulton, forcing 5 more families to the streets at 138 Fulton and dissolved the company. It’s just astounding.

    No one will tolerate 4 more years when landlords have finally stepped so far over the line to get at the underlying leases that landlord were finally willing to kill their tenants to get at the underlying leases. It’s finally criminal in many instances. They couldn’t pass a bill that Landlord Harassment was 50 million dollars over what our landlord has done in all these buildings to make this right. Landlords are finally so far over the line it’s criminal.

    Now it has finally gone so far that the even banks and the insurance companies were defrauded in many of these buildings, where the city falsified so many records, where even the developers they thought they were protecting in Albany were defrauded. There are dozens of lawsuits over damage from adjacent property and dozens of fraud insurance claims when absolutely nobody has this many “accident” and fires in this many buildings or this many buildings with big red X’s, evacuated and demolished or vacates 29 buildings legally. It is beyond atrocious.

    I don’t think history will be kind to Governor Cuomo if he can not get this right or to the Senate Leadership. The problem is they are all so busy thinking they could horse trade that they don’t realize it isn’t just the tenants who get hurt when the laws are weakened. It was the banks and the insurance companies and the developers who took the hit in many of buildings not just the tenants while lawsuit litter the Supreme Court halls.

    It is beyond my comprehension how this was ever permitted to go this far in Albany after the 450 million dollar suit at Peter Cooper StuyTown. They are causing a level of fraud this country has never seen before the city is ill equipped to handle where it isn’t just the tenants who got hurt by a long shot.

    Best,

    385 Greenwich aka 71 N. Moore

  3. I think there’s some kind of genetic defect in these RE families and it manifests in extreme and insatiable avarice and greed. Look at Trump, Speyer, Durst, et al. These people are not normal and are a danger to humanity. As selective sterilization is as amoral as they are, the best we can hope for is that they stop breeding!

  4. Vickie and Victoria thank you for your courage and truths in your comments. Mr Sanders is right, this is not a game. Playing politics with human basic rights is unacceptable in a civilized society.

  5. The deal that was finally passed extends NY’s corrupt rent laws by four years and will be responsible for the loss of some 90,000 affordable rent-regulated apartments.

    Sorry Mr Sanders, but State Senator Liz Krueger is much more succinct about what happened: “It was three men in a room and apparently two were Republicans and that was the problem…for whatever reason, Governor Cuomo and his administration actually think doing things for the City of New York is a bad idea and I don’t get it.”

    Ava Farkas, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Counicl on Housing agrees: “This deal is a sell out and a betrayal by a Governor who ran as a Democrat and promised to stand up for tenants, but governs as a pro-corporate Republican who’s only looking out for the millionaires and billionaires who fund his campaign,.”

    Cuomo has gotta go.

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