Sure, the first of three public Rent Guidelines Board meetings to decide on increases for rent-stabilized units was a little mild compared to the shitshows of years' past, but even though the increases have pretty much been decided, things are finally heating up. Against a backdrop of calls for reforming the "sideshow" that the RGB has become, the second public hearing was held at Cooper Union last night, and the Times' account of the proceedings begins like this:
Seven score and eight years ago, when he was stumping for the Republican presidential nomination, Abraham Lincoln wowed the crowd in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in the East Village. Historians consider it a decisive moment. Fast-forward to Monday, when the following un-Lincolnesque but oh-so-New York lines were spoken in that place: "You guys shut up. You'll get your chance."
Yep, things finally got a little chippy, with tenant groups decrying the annual increases and lack of affordable housing, and landlord groups doing their shtick about losing money on buildings because of escalating costs. One building manager decided to take the Lincoln thing a bit far, saying, "He was so against slavery, and that's what owners feel like we are. We feel like we're slaves to tenants." Ah yes, we had forgotten that masters paid their slaves thousands of dollars a month in exchange for shelter. Must've skipped that part of the textbook.
· Rent Board Gives Landlords and Tenants a Chance to Vent [NYT]
· Christine Quinn, Hands Off Our Freakshow! [Curbed]
· Rent-Stabilzation War: Tenants Strike Back [Curbed]