Government briefs

Paterson passes tenant harassment legislation

Governor David Paterson last month signed a law that would raise financial penalties for landlords who harass tenants in rent-regulated units in order to coerce them into vacating the building. New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who sponsored the legislation, said that the increased fines were needed to ensure tenants’ comfort and safety. “By sharply increasing penalties against landlords who violate the [new] law, we are sending the message that harassing tenants is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Silver said in a statement.

Affordable housing efforts dwarfed by gentrification

Michael Bloomberg
The city’s supply of affordable housing is shrinking. Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s success in bringing 94,000 new affordable housing units — 72,000 of which are designated for low-income families — to the market, his efforts have been outweighed by the 200,000 affordable apartments lost to gentrification and rent deregulation during his term, the New York Times reported. In 2008, 42 percent of the city’s households were considered low-income, making less than $37,000 per year. However, the supply of apartments they could afford at that time had shrunk to 991,592, or 17 percent less than the 2002 supply. Bloomberg has said he wants to invest an additional $965 million to expand his housing plan if reelected.

Thompson pledges space for garment biz, reinforcement of zoning laws, if elected

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Democratic mayoral candidate and current city comptroller William Thompson told the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce last month that if elected, he would reinforce existing zoning laws for manufacturers, protecting them from “real estate speculators who offer only short-term leases,” as a means of encouraging financial recovery. Noting that the securities industry accounted for 25 percent of city wages in 2007, Thompson emphasized the need for New York to diversify the types of businesses it houses and encourage the growth of smaller commercial outlets in the city. Thompson also pledged to help the fashion industry, saying that he would work with labor unions to dedicate 1 million square feet of space in nonprofit buildings for garment manufacturing.

State lends support to Hudson development plan

The state has lent its support to an initiative to build more docks along the Hudson River, between New York City and Lake Champlain. The project, for which the state has already granted $750,000, is meant to address the issue of poor water access, a problem that Clay Hiles, executive director of the Hudson River Foundation, says has long plagued the waterfront, the Times reported. Upward of 40 different locations have been identified as possible dock sites. New York City-based nonprofit advocacy group Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance has requested funds for two docks, in Inwood and Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood.

NJ lures Lower Manhattan workers with incentives

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine announced last month that 1,600 employees from the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation would be heading from Lower Manhattan to his side of the river, starting in 2013. The employees will work in 415,000 square feet of space in the Newport office complex in Jersey City. The state of New Jersey offered up an incentive package worth $74.6 million over the next decade in exchange for moving the Depository Trust jobs out of Manhattan. The trust’s official headquarters will remain at 55 Water Street, where around 700 employees will remain. TRD