For those not following New York politics, Pedro Espada recently defected from the Democratic party, helping to secure a power coup for the Republicans in Albany. But his decision didn’t just hurt the party; it did harm to tenants (and particularly low-income tenants) across New York:
In the weeks before Mr. Espada bolted, Senate Democrats were poised to vote on the most significant expansion of rent regulation and tenant rights in a quarter-century, including legislation that could have cost the owners of the more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City and its suburbs billions of dollars on their investments.
Mr. Espada, as chairman of the Senate Housing Committee, had assured Democratic leaders he would take up the bill, already passed by the Assembly, but repeatedly blocked it, citing technical objections and scheduling issues. Last Monday, after he defected to the Republicans and ascended to the Senate presidency, he announced he was opposed to the legislation.
His move has all but assured that the bill will die this year.
Landlords and the real estate lobby obviously opposed the bill, and Mr. Espada sided with them over the interests of low-income tenants who are increasingly priced out of living in New York City. It’s a disappointing, though not surprising, move.
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