Posted by MikeW on April 19, 1997 at 12:18:58:
Itís amazing that no one seems to have recognized what is really going on. Everyone seems to assume that the Republicans are shilling from the real estate lobby, and that theyíll be willing to compromise as long as the landlords can make enough money from it. This is not the case. While the landlords interest coincide with what the Republicans want to do, and the Republicans are more then willing to take landlord money to support their cause, something much deeper and more insidious is going on.
This year, the Republicans have a rare and historic opportunity to demographically remold NYC in their image. There are two major pieces of legislation that must be done this year, that if not done, will financially devastate a large number of Democratic constituents. The first is rent regulation. The other is welfare. If the protections provided by either of these programs are reduced or eliminated, it will probably lead to the exodus of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people from NYC, who will probably end up out of state. Since NYC has a 5 to 1 Democratic majority, any turnover will help the Republicans. In addition, think about the people most likely to leave if these programs die. They will tend to be some combination older, lower income, and minority, people who demographically tend to vote for Democrats. They would likely be replaced by people who are younger, richer, whiter and more likely to vote for Republicans. Pataki only won in 1994 by a few thousand votes. If 50,000 Democrats move out, and 50,000 Republicans move in, it could insure that we have a Republican Governor for decades.
In addition, the Republicans think they can do this with little risk to their current position. Think about this. Pataki lost NYC by a significant margin in the last election, but still won the state. The Republican majority in the State Senate is based largely on suburban and rural districts. The few Republican districts in the city tend to be in less renter-centric, more homeowner populated districts. This was evident by the fact that the Senators from these districts felt they could defy the tenant lobby and stick with Bruno ( in the last Senate vote on rent regulation ), and not be significantly threatened. The Republicans know that the people who would most likely be hurt are the one who are most likely to vote against them in any case, so the republicans have nothing to lose by killing these programs.
What does this mean tactically for the rent reg renewal battle.
® DO NOT ASSUME THAT BRUNO IS ACTUALLY WILLING TO REACH A COMPROMISE. The republican strategy doesnít really work if any form of regulation remains.
® The Democrats in the Assembly are going to be largely useless. They have to many sacred cows to keep from being slaughtered, and not enough weapons to protect them with.
® The Republicans from the city are absolutely key. If they canít be turned, the tenants lose it all.
® Some way must be found to bring pressure from outside the city on the Republicans. If this remains simply a city issue it will likely lose.
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