Letters to the editor, Aug. 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Speranza will protect affordability

Last month, our City Council approved a package of tenant-protection bills that will provide legal counsel to low-income tenants facing eviction, and curb tenant harassment. This is a huge victory for tenants, but there’s still much more we must do – especially in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, where rent-stabilized tenants know first-hand the struggles of rising rents. This fall, we must elect a Council Member who will adopt bold, innovative solutions to solve the affordability crisis. That’s why I’ve endorsed Democrat Marti Speranza.

While every candidate talks about affordable housing, Marti has a workable 19 point plan that will protect residents of ST/PCV while preserving and creating more permanently affordable housing throughout the district. A cornerstone of her Plan for A Livable City is creating a citywide Community Land Trust (CLT), a proven method of transforming underutilized land into permanently affordable housing.

Marti will expand community education to eligible seniors and people with disabilities to enroll them in the Senior Citizen and/or Disability Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE/DRIE) benefits.

In the midst of our housing and homelessness crisis, it is vital to elect a champion of affordability. Marti Speranza is that champion. Not only did Marti testify against the 1.25 percent rent increase at the Rent Guidelines Board hearing in June, she also crafted a tangible and comprehensive platform for creating more permanently affordable units.

And while District 4 covers a lot of ground, Marti understands that ST/PCV needs a Council Member who will remain vigilant of Blackstone’s commitment to preserving 5,000 affordable housing units for 20 years and hold them accountable to their promises. She will gather input for major capital projects, ensure that development goes forward only with the approval of our community and does not disrupt the day-to-day life in our neighborhoods.

As a tenant member of the Rent Guidelines Board, Community Development Director at the Urban Justice Project and a longtime housing advocate who has fought alongside Marti to preserve housing affordability in our community, I know that Marti Speranza is exactly the progressive voice we need on the City Council.

Harvey Epstein

Powers, advocate for the community

As a lifelong resident of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, I’ve known Keith Powers almost my whole life – ever since Keith’s father coached us in the Stuy Town Little League. I can attest to the fact that he has always been a powerful advocate for the members of our community. Whether it was organizing tenants in the 2006 sale of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, or working with Dan Garodnick on Community Board 6, Keith has never stopped fighting for the best interests of our neighborhood.

Keith’s dedication to our community is simply one of the many reasons why I believe he is the person our neighborhood needs to ensure that we have a strong voice on the City Council.

I hope you join me in supporting Keith Powers in the September 12th Democratic Primary.

Matt Byrne, PCV

City must fight to restore home rule

Passed in 1971 under Republican leadership, the Urstadt Law took significant authority away from the City Council by specifying that cities of 1 million plus may not pass rent laws that are more restrictive than those that have been passed at the state-level.

A Republican God-send, something of a bonanza for the real estate industry.  Especially now as various rental protections are starting to sunset and families are getting forced into homeless shelters.

Democrats have tried to repeal the Urstadt Law in the past.  It’s particularly hard now as “Democratic” State Senator Simcha Felder from Borough Park and members of the Independent Democratic Conference have consistently betrayed their Democratic roots by repeatedly siding with Republicans.

The NYS Democratic Party has failed to deal with Democratic Party dysfunction in the State Senate.  The governor and the mayor have made little effort to have the Urstadt Law repealed, and our state representatives haven’t been successful repealing it.

But what body was most affected by the Urstadt Law?  What arm of government lost part of its rightful power and authority under the Urstadt Law?

It’s up to the City Council to stand up for itself and make its own case loudly and strongly to get back what it lost over 40 years ago.  It’s up to the City Council members to lead their own charge.  To put Simcha Felder, the IDC and the governor in the hot seat.

Band together under Councilman Jumaane Williams. Band together publicly, loudly and get this one done by the 2018 election.

Barry Shapiro, PCV

Barry Shapiro is a Democrat candidate for the City Council, District 4.

Share the facts in classroom debate

Re: Letter, “Classroom condemnation uncalled for,” T&V, Aug. 3, which was in response to “Ugly Rhetoric on Charter schools,” Chris Hagedorn’s “It Seems to Me” column on July 27

John Giannone lets Christopher Hagedorn off easy. No, Mr. Hagedorn, don’t just do your homework.  Do your homework and publish it in your column.

Those of us who follow this ‘charter vs. public schools’ debate demand evidence-based facts. You have an obligation to back-up you statements.

Does  T&V allow its editor to do bad (let me not say fake) journalism?  Show us the facts.

A. de Souza, ST


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