- New York 06/24/2014 by Linda Perry (WBAI)
Anger erupted from tenants last night at the at the Rent Guidelines Board Meeting. It was reaction to the 5-4 vote to raise rents on stabilized apartments. The increase is 1 percent on one-year leases and 2.75 percent on two-year leases.
While campaigning for Mayor, Bill de Blasio called for a one-year rent freeze. He said a "course correction" was needed after years of "unnecessary" rent increases, but the mayor was largely silent on the issue since taking office.. that is until the day before the vote. Then he reiterated his call for a freeze.
Fortunately for tenants, rent increases were much less than what landlords asked for. They wanted a 6 percent increase for one-year leases and 9.5 percent for a two-year lease.
While landlords say their costs keep rising and they need a larger increase, tenants say profits are not considered in calculations. They want to be compensated for excessive past increases. The average rent stabilized tenant pays 30 percent of their income for rent. Some even pay over 50 percent.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City's tentative $40 million settlement with the Central Park Five is a moral issue.
"I think the question here – the history is quite plain, what the legal outcome was for these young men and the fact that they spent a lot of their lives in jail, imprisoned wrongly, and we have an obligation to turn the page. We have an obligation to do something fair for them, but for the whole city to turn the page and move forward.
Amidst racist media frenzy driven by tabloids, talk radio and some public figures back in 1989, the five men were coersced, tried and imprisoned as teens, wrongly accused in the brutal attack and rape of the Central Park jogger.
They served six to thirteen years in prison starting when they were fourteen and fifteen years old. Convictions were thrown out in 2002 because of evidence which showed someone else, acting alone, committed the crime. The Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaan, Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson and Antron McCray, have been waiting for justice for twenty-five years.
The settlement agreed upon last week still needs to be approved by a Federal Judge and the City Comptroller.
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer reads names of children killed crossing streets in Queens...
11 Bills were signed into law to improve traffic safety and reduce pedestrian fatalities in New York City.
The bills create slow zones around schools, toughen penalties on drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists. Ydanis Rodriguez is Chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committtee.
"Walking in the street of New York City, riding a bike in the streets of New York City, should not be equal to be endangered of losing their life."
The Bill signing took at a school in Queens, just a block from where a 9-year-old boy was killed by a car in December. Another measure to help reduce pedestrian fatalities is a change in the speed limit in the city from 30 mph to 25 mph.
Longtime congressman Charlie Rangel and State Senator Adriano Espaillat face off today in the Democratic Primary for upper Manhattan’s13th Congressional District. Other races include primaries for candidates looking to succeed retiring Democratic Reps. Carolyn McCarthy on Long Island and Bill Owens in upstate New York.
Polls close at 9 p.m.
LP WBAI News, NY