By Sabina Mollot
A hearing on Thursday about the rent regulations that are sunsetting this June in Albany at times got heated with a speaker representing the real estate industry being accused of racism by the crowd and even a couple of Assembly members.
After a few New York City tenant leaders and advocates spoke favorably about a package of tenant-friendly bills aimed at, among other things, ending vacancy decontrol and major capital improvement rent increases, Joseph Strasburg, the president of the Rent Stabilization Association, told the Assembly housing committee members not to “NYCHA-tize the private sector.”
The Rent Stabilization Association represents roughly 25,000 New York City landlords.
In response to his comment, a couple of audience members shouted out “Racist!”
Strasburg disagreed, but one black Assembly member, Latrice Walker, responded that as someone who had grown up in a NYCHA development, only to later lose that apartment and become homeless, she didn’t appreciate his comment.
This was echoed by another black Assembly member, Walter Mosley, who said, “I think the term used with regards to NYCHA, it’s not up to the person who doesn’t know what racism is to determine what racism is. To say it is disrespectful to the members here who are of color as well as those who live in NYCHA, who are a number of my constituents.”