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Be aware of Republicans bearing gifts. The GOP is not known for its support of legal help for the poor, but Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari gave a small but important grant to help a crippled tenant aid group last week.

Molinari surprised housing advocates by forking over $8,000 in discretionary funds to the City-Wide Task Force on Housing Court, which provides free legal advice to poor tenants. Mayor Giuliani has withheld over $250,000 in City Council appropriations from the group, which is still waiting to hear an answer to grant requests made to the Queens and Manhattan borough presidents.

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