A protest for stronger rent laws spanned three days outside the governor’s midtown office. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Tenant activists, including some who are homeless, gathered in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s midtown office for three days last week from Wednesday evening to Saturday to demand rent reform in Albany.
A coalition of tenant groups organized the efforts, including New York Communities for Change, Tenant Power NY, Community Voices Heard and others. The groups dubbed the temporary encampment on the sidewalk “Cuomoville,” and linked the governor’s failure to enact stronger rent laws with the increase in homelessness throughout the city.
Gigi Morgan, an activist from Brooklyn who currently lives in a women’s shelter in Harlem, was at the protest on Friday morning after having slept there Thursday night and participating on Wednesday and Thursday.
In March, Council Member Dan Garodnick, along with Council Member Vanessa Gibson of the Bronx, introduced a police oversight bill that’s aimed at making the technology the NYPD uses for its anti-terror efforts and the policies under which they are used more transparent.
But it was last Wednesday, when the Council members held a rally and hearing to push the bill, dubbed the POST Act, when the NYPD as well as the mayor responded to slam it, arguing that it would put too much sensitive information in the hands of terrorists.
Garodnick has since reiterated an earlier claim that he was willing the work with police to tweak the bill, adding that police’s bashing of the act as “a blueprint for harm” has amounted to fear-mongering.
Other opinions have already varied just as widely. A Wall Street Journal editorial with the headline “A Terrorist’s Guide to New York City” cited last year’s bombing in Chelsea while calling Garodnick and the bill’s supporters “anti-anti-terror stalwarts.” Meanwhile, an opinion piece in the Daily News called the legislation a much needed step considering previously reported incidents of NYPD surveillance incidents of students and activists.
Although separated by 54 years, the connection between Lee Harvey Oswald and James T. Hodgkinson is all too familiar.
They both possessed a legally acquired rifle, and for reasons only known to them fired shots at the government of the United States with devastating consequences.
In the case of Oswald, he bought his rifle through an ordinary mail order transaction and Hodgkinson legally purchased his weapon as well… no questions asked.
Oswald fired shots at the president of the United States and Hodgkinson fired dozens of shots at members of Congress last week. Both shooters were killed before they could answer questions or to stand trial for their actions.
But the most telling similarity of these shootings is that after more than a half century and over 1.5 million shooting deaths of famous and anonymous Americans, the government of this country is still unwilling to come to grips with the plague of ever more lethal firearms in the hands of ever more people.