McMillan planning citywide rent strike

UPDATE: Jimmy McMillan, early today, announced he was calling off the strike in light of a judge’s decision on Tuesday to keep the rent freeze in place.

June27 jimmy mcmillan

Jimmy McMillan is now running for Rosie Mendez’s Council seat.  (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Jimmy “The Rent is Too Damn High” McMillan, now a Republican City Council candidate, is calling on the tenants of New York City to join him in a rent strike this October.

McMillan, an East Village resident who’s been in and out of court with his own landlord for years, said the plan is inspired by what he’s blasting as conflicting interests in the New York City Housing Court.

“The attorneys that sit on a committee that appoint New York City Housing Court (judges), stand before that same judge against the tenant representing the landlord,” he stated in a press release.

The 70-year-old Vietnam vet also believes this setup has impacted his own case.

According to current information on the New York Courts website, the advisory committee that helps appoint judges to the Housing Part of the Civil Court includes three representatives of the real estate industry, including the chair of the NYC Housing Authority, three members from tenants’ organizations, two members representing civic groups, two bar association members, two public members, one mayoral appointee and the commissioner of the state housing agency, Housing and Community Renewal.

McMillan’s plan to strike, meanwhile, is also aimed at raising awareness of his campaign platform — affordability. His goal is to see rents slashed across the board.

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The rent is too damn high, says this Republican Council candidate

Jimmy McMillan, who hopes to replace Rosie Mendez in the City Council, has also run for governor and mayor. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The race for the City Council seat currently occupied by a term-limited Rosie Mendez is beginning to heat up, with the newest candidate being Jimmy McMillan, otherwise known as “The Rent is Too Damn High” guy.

McMillan, who has previously run for mayor of New York City and governor as well as having had a brief dalliance with the 2012 presidential election, said he was approached about running for Council by Manhattan GOP.

The organization, formerly known as the New York Republican County Committee, gave McMillan its blessing in an email blast to members last week.

On getting the local Republican nod to run, McMillan, who’s running as a Republican as well as on his own party, The Rent is Too Damn High, said, “I almost cried.”

And this is no small thing. As the 70-year-old, mutton chopped, Vietnam vet and martial arts aficionado, who claims he was once tied up and doused with gasoline when working as an investigator, also told us, “I’m not a baby. I don’t cry.”

He’s also here to say what he’s been saying all along, that the rent is unquestionably too damn high, and if this is fixed, specifically by halving rents across the board, many of the other problems facing this city — like struggles faced by small businesses — will solve themselves.

“If you raise rents and you go to the store, they have to raise their prices in the store,” he said. “There is no way around it. The rent is too damn high,” he said, before going on to blast economic experts who opine on such matters. “I don’t have a degree, but they (think they) know more than me because they call themselves professors or economic experts. I’m an economic master.”

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Letters to the Editor, May 3

How is ‘special event’ in ST/PCV defined?

To the Editor:

It is unfortunate that Council Member Garodnick has gone along with CW and Rose in sidestepping the zoning rules (and apparently ignoring the “clearly incidental” and “customarily found” requirements found in the Zoning Resolution definition of Accessory Use) to allow the return of the greenmarket to the Oval under the pretense that its availability will be limited to “residents and their guests only,” and the return of food trucks at “special events.”

Notably, “special events” are not defined so, presumably, anything that CW and Rose declare to be a special event, perhaps even the greenmarket, will qualify.  By agreeing to this pretense, the Council Member has ignored the primary complaint about the greenmarket – its location on the Oval – and opened the door to CW and Rose further exploit the Oval as a commercial and event space, without limit, merely by claiming the activities are limited to “residents and their guests only.”

According to the Council Member, management has agreed to add language to its perimeter sidewalk signs and on any of their materials referencing the market that the market is for “residents and their guests only” and are in the process of correcting any outstanding public references to the market being open to the public.   While GrowNYC has removed the reference to the market being open to the public, it contains a map of the market’s location and a link to management’s website for more information and, as of April 29, one week before the market’s opening, neither that site nor management’s own site has added the language for “residents and their guests only” or any other language that would indicate that it is not open to he public.

During his tenure, Council Member Garodnick has, generally, represented the ST/PCV community well and has done many good things on behalf of it.  His acquiescence in CW and Rose’s charade to continue the presence of the greenmarket on the Oval is not one of them and will only embolden the property’s current mercenary management to create more Oval annoyances, of course — wink, nod – for “residents and their guests only.”

James J. Roth, PCV

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