Tenant advocates, who are in an uphill bid to pass expanded rent regulations this year lest the Democrats lose control of the Senate, unveiled a set of fliers and posters on Monday targeting a few key state senators in an attempt to round up votes.
On their list: State Senators Martin Dilan of Brooklyn, Jeff Klein of the Bronx and Westchester, Marty Golden of Queens, and the embattled Pedro Espada of the Bronx, who is chairman of the housing committee.
The intent of the fliers is to stir up dissention around the officials’ districts, in the hope that the senators’ district offices will be inundated with phone calls from angry constituents who want new rent laws. The choice of senators by the tenant groups, a collection of organizations working as the Real Rent Reform Campaign, is an interesting one.
They seem to be hoping that a Republican, Mr. Golden, could be persuaded to join with Democrats, which would seem unlikely. They also seem to have not given up hope of converting Mr. Espada, who has been blocking tenant-friendly housing legislation in the Senate (and has said he does not want to vote to repeal vacancy decontrol, a key issue of tenants). This is perhaps out of hope that Mr. Espada will be in need of extra votes this November, and will play to his constituents: The tenant groups said he has 71,000 rent-regulated apartments in his district, the second highest number in the Senate.
Landlords, meanwhile, do not seem to be worried, contending the tenant advocates do not have the votes, nor will they be able to get them this year.