Nixon, Williams Come Up Empty On “Universal Rent Control” Details


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and lieutenant governor candidate Jumaane Williams came to the Ebbets Field building complex yesterday touting “Universal Rent Control” and “Universal Rent Stabilization,” but did not explain any details on how it would work.

Rent control is a policy that dictates when, why and how property owners can change the rent. Rent stabilization is how much property owners can increase tenants’ rent each year and guarantee the rights to renew leases, and according to Nixon and Williams, housing is a human right.

Cynthia Nixon

“We need a government that stands alongside [housing] activists and fights alongside them against big landlords and against corporate developers on Wall Street,” Nixon said. “New York has a housing crisis. We have Cuomo Housing Crisis where rents are, in New York City, jacking up twice the rate in wages.”

Nixon also demanded better housing transparency, claiming tenants do not know who are their “nameless, corporate entity” landlords. She said these corporate LLCs are buying houses and increasing rent to force out tenants.

Williams and Nixon also criticized Cuomo’s connections with land developers who donate, stating his decisions are corrupted by  the real estate industry.

“Last year in New York, New York City, real estate developers, through this LLC loophole, almost donated $2 billion to Andrew Cuomo’s campaign,” Nixon said. “How do you stand up to real estate developers and landlords when you’re getting [sic] millions of dollars not to?”

Nixon cited her mother’s tenant rights activism as a learning experience,  and as her motivation to make housing more affordable.

“When women fight, they fight for their families. They fight for their children to have a safe and stable place,” Nixon said.

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams

Williams, a former tenant organizer and activist on educational and racial justice issues, told the crowd that removing Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who he said was silent on the governor’s failed housing policies, out of office would make New York a better place to live.

“This is #Cuomoshousingcrisis,” Williams said.

“There is no other issue that [Governor Cuomo] has failed this much than housing in the state of New York,” Williams said. “And he has failed a lot of issues.”

In regards to the governor’s “America was never great” comment that caught the ire of some Americans, Williams claims it’s Cuomo’s lack of accountability and preparedness causing him to “bumble.”

“As we hear him speak recently, speaking and bumbling around issues that he never had to speak about, and had never been forced to address, we see [sic] why that is,” Williams.

In 2012, Cuomo established the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU), to which Williams gave praise. However, Williams stated that TPU exists because of Cuomo’s initial failure.

According to Nixon and Williams, tenants are giving more tax dollars to developers while housing is becoming less affordable. The result, they say, is a loss of about 75,000 housing units due to Cuomo’s  attempt to replace an abatement to reduce property taxes known as 421-a.

Nixon and Williams were met with a crowd of about 50 people — a crowd of mostly African-Americans and Latinos chanting catchphrases and songs implying Cuomo and Hochul were not only against resolving major housing issues for tenants but that they are also racists.

“Hey hey, ho, ho. Governor Cuomo has got to go,” the crowd said.

During the press questioning time at the end of the press conference, a defiant reporter tried to discuss the logistics of universal rent control. Nixon struggled to complete the answer and left the premises immediately, with Williams having to defend their position.