HEALTHY HOMES HOLDOUT

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Tenants and advocates stormed a meeting of the City Council’s housing committee this week to demand a hearing for the Healthy Homes Act, year-old legislation that would raise fines on landlords who fail to make necessary repairs. A hearing was initially scheduled for Sept. 29, but Councilmember Madeline Provenzano, chair of the committee, postponed it, rescheduling it for mid-November. According to Councilmember Letitia James, who sponsored the bill, Councilmember Provenzano said she was reluctant to hold the hearing until after the election, because the issue had “gotten political.” Councilmember Provenzano did not return repeated calls for comment. When the bill’s backers learned that the hearing was delayed, they were incensed, prompting Wednesday’s protest. One tenant, Cathy Allen, 57, briefly faced off with a security guard. “I don’t mind getting arrested,” said Allen, who shares a dilapidated apartment with her paralyzed sister in Bed-Stuy. “At least I’d have hot water in jail.” Councilmember James is now asking the Speaker, one of 33 co-sponsors of the bill, to transfer it to another committee, so it can be voted on before the end of the year. (C. Feldman) [10/17/05]