News flash: On Friday, State Senate boss Joe Bruno agreed to a rent regulation compromise with a key New York City Democrat. Okay, so what if it was Ed Koch?
Bruno capped off a week of off-the-cuff rent war bombshell announcements by appearing on Koch's Friday WABC radio show, where he jettisoned a day-old pledge to support a four-year phase-out of rent regualtions. The day before, speaking to a group of builders at the World Trade Center, Bruno said he would drop his demand for a two-year phase out of rent laws for a four-year elimination plan. Talking to Koch, he apparently changed his mind again, admitting for the first time that he could support an even milder plan. “I asked him to agree to the following,” Koch told City Limits. “First, I asked him to agree to a compromise on luxury decontrol. If he'd accept rolling down the income limit to about $200,000 and the maximim rent down to about $1,800. Then I asked him if he'd accept across-the-board vacancy decontrol, which would get rid of rent control but over a much longer time [than a four-year phase-out].
“He said he would agree to that.”
Bruno did want one additional concession: rent deposits on tenants appearing in non-payment cases in housing court. Tenant advocates have long opposed that measure, saying it robs resident of the right to use rent strikes to force bad landlords to do repairs.
But non-Koch Dems say the deal Bruno agreed to would ultimately result in the end of rent stabilization–and is therefore unacceptable. “We passed our bill calling for a permanent extension of the rent laws [as they currently exist],” responded Silver aide Pat Lynch. “The speaker has called on the senate to pass their version…As of now the Senate is refusing.”
Koch, who has crossed party lines to endorse Republicans like Al D'Amato and Ronald Reagan, took a shot at the Lower East Side Democrat's apparent commitment to preserving rent laws as they are. “I like Shelly. I think his major problem is that he is the captive of the radical left wing of the Democratic party,” the former mayor said.
“Oy, oy, oy,” Lynch replied. “That'll be my comment.”