Unfortunately, I have the regrettable tendency to say what I really think and to tell what I really plan to do. I will try to do all the things above, just as any area representative anywhere will do, but I am not certain that I will be able to do those things any better than my predecessors.
The predecessor in this office was Albert Vann. Vann had represented Bedford Stuyvesant in the New York State Assembly for 26 years. He had not had a serious competitor for his seat in a long time.
The City Council representative for this district was Annette Robinson, who had represented the district since 1991. However, due to term limits, she could not run again. Therefore, she made a deal with Albert Vann to switch seats. He would run for her spot on City Council. His election was assured, since this district is 82% Democratic as compared with 4% Republican and Vann is a well-known, well-liked and popular personality. After being elected, he would resign his State Assembly seat and then she would run to fill his seat.
Vann was elected with 92% of the vote. He resigned from the State Assembly on January 1, 2001 and a special election is to be held on February 12, 2002.
This of course creates an issue. The voters are being treated lightly by the Democratic Party bosses, who feel that they can just appoint the next state assemblyman. Albert Vann at least had to run in a primary election. However, because of the shortness of time, Annette Robinson does not have to run in a primary. She has been appointed, not elected, to be the candidate.
Among the issues this raises is the fact that the effect of this is to evade the Term Limits Law. This law was not enacted for the purpose of enabling incumbents to exchange seats among themselves. This is an ethical and a moral question.
In my canvassing of the voters, I have found that although Albert Vann is exceptionally well liked and popular, the voters do not feel that they have been well represented in general. They seem not to feel that their elected representatives have been able to do much or indeed anything at all to help them.
Another concern is whether, as long as this district remains so heavily Democratic, will the other legislators in Albany take our representatives seriously. In districts where there is a political balance, the legislators are in a strong bargaining position. They can say, "If you do not give my district XXX, I will be voted out of office in the next election and then you will have to deal with someone from the opposite party who will be much less cooperative." However, in a one-party district such as Bedford Stuyvesant, everybody knows that the Democrats always win, so there is no incentive to provide anything to our representatives.
This year, the Democrats were shocked by the loss of a mayoral race that they never thought they could lose. Perhaps it is time to give them another shock by telling the Democratic Party Bosses they no longer have Bedford Stuyvesant in their hip pocket.
I will now tell what I plan to do and will do if elected.
In the first place, I will abolish rent control, and I will have the ability to do that. The reason: Rent Control only applies to New York City. Other cities in New York State, such as Rochester and Buffalo, do not have rent control. Most upstate assemblymen are opposed to rent control. In recent years, the votes for and against rent control have been split nearly evenly 50-50. Rent control was actually abolished in 1997, only to be reinstated two days later.
Albert Vann and the other New York City Democrats always vote in favor of rent control. The swing loss of that one vote if I am elected plus my determined and outspoken opposition to rent control will tip the balance and rent control will be abolished, in my opinion.
This is something that I feel will definitely happen if I am elected. No other candidate can make such a strong guarantee that his program will be enacted.
"What", you say, "about homelessness, because if rent control is abolished, rents will skyrocket, elderly people will be thrown on the street and children will be destitute."
The answer is simple: Not only is it not true, but it does not apply to the people of Bedford Stuyvesant. More than that, in order for Bedford Stuyvesant to be economically redeveloped, rent control must be abolished, because Bedford Stuyvesant is filled with abandoned buildings and the rent control laws are standing in the way of the renovation of these buildings.
Very few units in Bedford Stuyvesant are rent controlled. In order to be rent controlled, an apartment must have been continuously occupied since before July 1, 1971, which is 31 years ago. Also, rent control does not apply to public housing projects. In Bedford Stuyvesant, the vast majority of the residents live either in public housing projects or in small typically three-family dwellings. There are few private high-rise apartment buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant.
The area which is most affected by Rent Control is the Upper East Side of Manhattan. That is where the rich, fat cats live in their luxury three-bedroom apartments for which they pay $185 per month. You ask, "How did they get to be so rich." The answer: They got rich because, for the past 31 years, they have been living virtually rent free.
In the typical three-family dwelling in Bedford Stuyvesant, the building owner lives in one of the apartments and rents out the other two. This means that private property owners are numerous in Bedford Stuyvesant, whereas in the Upper East Side where most of the residential buildings are high rise, very few residents are property owners.
Rent Control has been a big fraud, because the evil incarnate, Sheldon Silver, who controls the New York State Legislature, has been telling the voters that rent control helps the poor people. This is a big lie. Rent Control helps the rich people, of whom Sheldon Silver is one. Do you think that Sheldon Silver gets rent control passed every two years to help you? Of course not. Sheldon Silver gets rent control passed every two years to help himself and the other rich people get even richer!
One thing I often hear from the voters of this district is that we need to do something about all these abandoned buildings in Bedford Stuyvesant. The answer is simple: Allow it to be profitable to renovate these abandoned buildings and they all will be renovated right away. Right now, private companies are afraid to put money into renovation projects because, after spending millions to renovate a building, they will then have to rent them out at regulated rents. They will not be able to raise the rents. That in turn makes potential home owners reluctant to buy. More than that, if the resident buys a property, moves in and rents out the apartments, he might be caught by one of the professional rent-scammers who are so prevalent in Brooklyn. These scammers are able to operate because some of the judges of the Brooklyn Landlord and Tenant Court never evict anybody, even though they may fall two or three years behind in their rent. Having judges like Judge Calendar sitting in Brooklyn frightens potential homeowners away from buying, which in turn frightens real estate developers from embarking on development projects. This is the reason that Bedford Stuyvesant is filled with abandoned buildings.
I know all about this because I have been working for a company that renovates abandoned buildings. This is how I came to reside in Bedford Stuyvesant in the first place. For five years since 1997, I have lived in 14 different buildings in Brooklyn undergoing renovation. All of them have been in the Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Brownsville, East New York and Flatbush areas, so I know a lot about this subject.
Another pet project of mine is to abolish New York City Income Taxes. This also raises questions, the first one being: How will the city survive without the money it gets from City Income Taxes? My answer is that after rent controls are abolished, property taxes will rise and the increased income from real estate taxes will offset the loss of revenue income taxes.
City Income Taxes are another big fraud. A few years ago, Leona Helmsley went to prison for saying, "Only little people pay taxes." Because of the repressive dictatorship which ruled New York City, Leona Helmsley went to prison for speaking the truth.
Yes. This forthright, honest, and much-maligned woman, Leona Helmsley, spoke the truth. Only us little people here in Bedford Stuyvesant pay city taxes. Do you think that all those fat cats up on the Upper East Side pay city taxes? If you think that, I have a bridge named after our fair city that I would like to sell you.
The rich people of New York City all have little deals which enable them to avoid paying taxes. It is us little people such as we here in Bedford Stuyvesant who pay the taxes.
These are just two examples of a long list of things that I promise to do if elected. And, unlike other politicians, I will do them. I am not like the others. When I say that I am going to do something, I actually go out and do it.
More about the election is at http://www.samsloan.com/bedford.htm
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