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June/Ju 1989 $2.

H U D D E A L S H I T H O M E D R E N T B O Y C O n
M ayoral C an didates:
L ookin g H om ewar
2 CITY LIMITS June/July 1989
CitJI L i m i ~ s
Volume XIV Number 6
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Association for Neighborhood and
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Harriet Cohen, Community Service
Robert Hayes, Coalition for the Homeless
Rebecca Reich
Andrew Reicher, UHAB
Richard Rivera, Puerto Rican Legal
Defense and Education Fund
Tom Robbins
Ron Shiffman, Pratt Center
Esmerelda Simmons, Center for Law and
Social Justice
Jay Small, ANHD
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Editor: Doug Turetsky
Associate Editor: Lisa Glazer
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Copyright 1989. All Rights Reserved. No por-
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City Limits is indexed in the Alternative Press
Index and the Avery Index to Architectural
Rigging Rent Raises
There'll be no raucous TV sound bites this year from inside the Rent
Guidelines Board hearings. No tenants chanting for rent freezes while
owners scream for 20 percent hikes in order to make ends meet. Tenant
advocacy groups have pulled out of the annual circus that passes for
hearings by the rent board. Their boycott has been joined by Steve Dobkin
and Harriet Cohen, the two tenant representatives on the board, who quit
just as the hearings were about to begin.
The Rent Guidelines Board undertakes its annual deliberations without
much of the information it should have in order to accurately assess
landlords' income and costs. Without access to this information, on file with
the Department of Finance but its use blocked by the mayor, how can the
board determine if rent hikes are needed so landlords can earn a fair return?
In any other regulatory process, basic income and expense data is provided
to the regulators. Instead, the rent board relies almost exclusively on an
artificial price index that even its own consultant considers seriously
The Koch administration has also undermined the objectivity of the rent
board's deliberations by appointing as public members representatives of
the banking and finance community, who have a vested interest in real
estate profits.
The rent-setting system is now out of control and unresponsive to the
needs it was designed to serve. The system has been so thoroughly subverted
that it raises rents far in excess of what would be justified by its own flawed
data, targets low income people for the highest raises and fuels the specu-
lative fever that generates huge increases in tax assessments-a vicious
cycle that reduces the amount of affordable housing and leads to even higher
future rent increases.
It is imperative to reform the system, starting with the requirement that
public members represent the public at-large. All mayoral appointees
should be confirmed by the City Council. The Koch administration must
allow the rent board to proceed with research on landlord incomes and price
appreciation and release data already available from owners' real estate tax
filings. Both the mayor and governor must also support legislation giving the
Rent Guidelines Board subpoena power to obtain a sample of landlords'
books and records so that the public will be able to separate fact from
propaganda and learn the true economic condition of the industry.
Until then, we join with the city's major tenant organizations and
question the legitimacy of the Rent Guidelines Board and urge nonpartici-
pation in its rigged process.
* * *
Contributing Editor Beverly Cheuvront has won honorable mention in
the 1988 Citizens Housing and Planning Council Journalism Awards for her
story, "Double Jeopardy: Facing AIDS and Homelessness." The article
appeared in the February 1988 issue of City Limits. 0
Cover illu,rrotion by Moria Mottola.
Cover photograph, by Beverly Cheuvront.
.... X.523
Housing and Homelessness:
The Candidates Answer Back
Mayoral hopefuls respond to City Limits'
questions about key issues in the cam-
Rigging Rent Raises .................................................. 2
Short Term Notes
Forward Motion ...................................................... . 4
Rent Deposit Fight ................................................... 4
Board Boycott ......................................................... .. 4
Rent Help Languishes ........................ ...................... 5
Neighborhood Notes ........................... .................... . 6
City Views
Notes for the Candidates from a Homeless Woman ... 7
Did Somebody Say Deal? ....................................... 24
Letters ............................................... .......... .... ... ... ... 26
Workshop .................................... ........... ..... .......... .. 27
June/July 1989 CITY LIMITS 3
Boycott/Page 4
4 CITY LIMITS June! July 1989
A recent court decision
gives the Housing Justice
Campaign the go-ahead in
their attempt to scrap the city's
10-year housing plan on the
grounds that it tails to provide
adequate housing for low and
moderate income New
State Supreme Court Judge
leonard Cohen recently
denied the city's move to
dismiss the Housing Justice
Campoign' s lawsuit, which
charges that the 1 O-year plan
should be stopped because it
uses public funds to subsidize
middle and upper income
housing without fully meeting
the needs of families earning
less than $25,000.
Even thought the legal
battle is still at a preliminary
stage, housing activist Bonnie
Brower describes Judge
Cohen's decision as "a
fantastic victory," adding,
"Now we can go forward and
argue the case."
Catie Marshall, a spokes-
person for the city's Depart-
ment of Housing Preservation
and Development, which is
responsible for carrying out
the plan, says the city is
a p ~ l i n g the judge's decision
to allow the case to move
The lawsuit, which was
filed in early 1988, includes
a motion to stop all of the
city's programs that do not
include low income housing.
As City Limits goes to press,
lawyers for the Housing
Justice Campaign are
requesting that the case be
heard as soon as possible.
Specifically, the lawsuit
charges that the city's 10-year
housing plan fails to provide
sufficient "aid, care and
support to the needy," as
mandated by state law. It also
alleges that the plan violates
federal law because the
emphasis on moderate and
middle income housing will
leave almost 90 percent of
black and Puerto Rican
families-those earning less
than $25,000 a year-without
benefit from the program.
Among other points, the
lawsuit condemns the plan on
the grounds that it was never
submitted for public review
and did not include an
Environmental Impact State-
The Housing Justice
Campaign is calling for the
city to provide housing for low
and moderate income New
Yorkers on a proportional
basis. Richard Rivera, a
lawyer working on the case,
says that if 75 percent of New
Yorkers earn less than
$25,000, then 75 percent of
the housing the city creates
should meet their needs.
In their attempt to dismiss
the case, the city' s lawyers
tried to persuade Judge
Cohen that the 10-year
housing plan was a budget
device and not a formal plan,
and therefore could not be
opposed in court. Denying
this point, Judge Cohen's
written decision displayed a
touch of humor, comparing
the city's position to a phrase
taken from "Alice Through the
Looking-Glass" by Lewis
Carroll : ''When I use a word,
it means just what I choose it
to mean-neither more nor
The Puerto Rican Legal
Defense and Education Fund,
the Center for Constitutional
Rights, Community Action for
Legal Services, Brooklyn Legal
Service Corporation A and the
Medgar Evers Center for Law
and Social Justice are all
providing legal support.
o Lisa Glazer
Housing advocates are
battling in Albany to stop a
proposal in the state Senate
which could require tenants to
deposit their rent in an escrow
account before continuing in
nonpayment cases that have
been adjourned twice in
housing court.
''To have their day in court
(to explain why they can' t pay
rent), tenants would have to
put up money they might not
even owe," says Michael
McKee, executive director of
the New York State Tenant
and Neighborhood Coalition.
''The proposal will result in
increased homelessness and
increased evictions."
Jim Silver, vice president of
the Small Property Owners of
New York, counters, ''There
are professional tenants who
are using the housing court
system for more than a year
as a way to live without
paying rent." He acknowl-
edges that the stipulation may
hasten evictions, but notes,
"You can' t place that burden
on the shoulders of the
landlord. That' s not how
capitalist society works."
A proposal for the deposits
after two court adjournments
was passed last year by the
Senate housing committee,
which is chaired by Republi-
can John Daly. The tenets of
that proposal are expected to
be included within a broader
housing bill to be introduced
by Daly in the Senate by the
end of this month.
Under current law, judges
have the discretionary power
to make tenants deposit their
rent in an escrow account
after two adjournments. But
Richard Runes, a Senate
housing committee counsel,
says this is inadequate
because "apparently no one
knows of a single instance"
when a judge has required
tenants to set aside their rent
in an escrow account.
Tenant advocates counter
that some judges do call for
rent deposits, but in many
cases realize that tenants have
justifiable reasons for not
paying rent. Liz Shollenberg,
staff attorney at Bronx Legal
Services, cites the instance of
one of her clients, who had
no heat in her building last
winter and kept warm by
keeping her gas oven on
constantly-until her gas bills
were as high as her rent.
Shollenberg says that the
client stopPed poying rent and
ended up in housing court. If
the stipulations were in place,
says Shollenberg, her client
would not have been able to
afford to make her case in
''The proposal robs tenants
of an opportunity to be heard
on what a landlord has done
to them," she says. "It would
incapacitate them from raising
a valid defense." She adds
that many tenants start off at a
disadvantage in housing court
because they lack legal
representation and otten don't
speak English.
The state's major rent
regulation laws are due to
expire this month and tenant
and landlord groups are
battling to influence legislators
in the Democrat-controlled
Assembly and the Republican-
run Senate. Key tenant issues
include preventing the buy-out
of Mitchell-Lama housing and
reform of the Major Capital
Improvements regulations,
while landlords are trying to
enforce the mandatory rent
deposits and ensure perma-
nent extension of MCI costs.
McKee says tenants will not
allow the rent deposit issue to
become a borgaining chip in
negotiations. "Every time
tenant groups try and get
amendments to benefit
tenants, they (the Republkans)
demand a pound of flesh in
return. But there's no situation
where we would approve
mandatory rent deposits.
We're opposing this tooth and
naiL" 0 Usa Glazer
Decrying the rent-setting
process as a sham, the two
tenant representatives on the
Rent Guidelines Board
resigned last month to join
tenant groups refusing to take
part in this year's procedures.
Their action was part of a
broader strategy to reform the
Slop file .#tam:
T_n" and file;, ,.."re .. nfatW boycott th. R.n' Guid.lin
... rd .... rin"
board's structure and deci-
sion-making methods.
Tenant representative
Harriet Cohen, who resigned
along with Stephen Dobkin,
describes the Rent Guidelines
Board as "an unfair and in-
equitable system" that is "not
capable of really considering
the tenant
Created by state law in
1969, the board sets the limits
on rent hikes for New York's
rent-stabilized apartments
based on a variety of infor-
mation, including a price
index of landlord operating
costs such as taxes, labar and
fuel. Tenant groups say this
information is inadequate
because it fails to consider
the actual profits and ex-
penses of landlords and does
not take note of building
Board chairman Arthur
Spector did not return calls for
comment. Clifford Chanin, a
spokesman for the mayor,
says it's up to the board to
decide what information they
review. "It's an independent
board and they make inde-
pendent decisions," he says.
At a protest outside 1
Police Plaza, where some of
the hearings took place,
tenant groups slammed the
structure of the Rent Guide-
lines Board, saying it is
stacked against tenant
interests. "It's a political fix,"
soys Jenny Laurie, a
person for the Metropolitan
Council on Housing.
The board includes two
landlord representatives, two
tenant representatives and five
public members, all appointed
by the mayor. Of the current
public members, three are
investment bankers, one is a
retired architect, and the other
serves as an advisor to New
York City Technical College.
The tenant organizations
are calling for a number of
changes, including Citx
Council confirmation of board
members and a freeze in rents
until landlords are required to
open their books as a part of
the rent-setting process. City
Council Memoer Stanley
Michels is asking for a
hearing of a bill he introduced
two years ago, Intro. 391, to
mandate Citx Council
approval of the mayor's
Despite the absence of
tenant representatives, the
board approved preliminary
rent hikes at their May 10
hearing. The proposed
increases of 6.5 percent on
one-year leases and 9.5
percent on two-),ear leases
will be up for a final vote on
June 26 following public
hearings. The board also
gave preliminary approval to
an additional $5 hike for any
apartment renting for less than
$325. The increases would
apply to renewals on rent-
stabilized leases between this
October and Sept. 30, 1990.
The proposed hikes,
approved 5 to 2, were still too
low for landlords. John Gilbert
III, president of the Rent
Stabilization Association,
describes the recommenda-
tions as "grossly insufficient"
and asked for 15 percent
June/July 1989 CITY UMITS 5
increases for one-year leases
and 19 percent increases for
two-year leases. 0 Usa
Thousands of federal rent
vouchers and certificates,
which can dramatically reduce
the cost of apartments for the
poor, remain unused by the
city's Department of Housing
Preservation and Develop-
ment. A recent letter from
Comptroller Harrison Goldin
to HPD Commissioner
Abraham Biderman blasted
the department for its failure
to get the subsidies into the
hands of tenants.
The comptroller's letter says
that nearly 45 percent of the
subsidies allotted to HPD are
unused. He estimates that
these unused certificates and
vouchers are costing the city's
poorest families approxi-
mately $13 million annually.
In November 1987, the
federal Department of
Housing and Urban Develop-
ment issued an audit report
extremely critical of HPD's use
of only 358 of the 7,878
vouchers and certificates it
had available (see City Limits,
December 1988). Following
the audit report, HUD
transferred 2,900 vouchers
from HPD to the city's housing
authority. HPD spokesperson
Catie Marshall says that since
the audit the department has
more than doubled the
number of vouchers used by
tenants and that an additional
500 will soon be in use. The
use of certificates has also
increased substantially and
HPD has improved its out-
reach to tenants eligible for
the subsidies, says Marshall.
Francine Kellman, a
spokesperson for HUD, says
that since the audit HPD has
"responded satisfactorily
pending a six month review."
But a letter from HUD's Acting
Regional Administrator
Geraldine McGonn sent last
January to Biderman again
questioned HPD's perform-
ance. In fact, since the letter
was sent, the number of
vouchers being used by
families has dropped
The voucher program has
been one of the federal
government's major focuses
for housing assistance-in
recent years. Critics of the
program note that even with
vouchers, families can pay
well more than 30 percent of
their incomes for rent,
especially in a city like New
York with a very tight rental
market. Because vouchers are
only valid for five years,
pending Congressional budget
reallocation, low income
housing developers find it
difficult to structure the long-
term financing of their projects
for tenants using vouchers.
But even witn the certifi-
cates, which have allocations
for 15 years, HPD has used
just 64 percent of the 7,172 it
has available. And according
to housing advocates, HPD
has been slow to get them into
the hands of tenants even after
their use has been approved.
At Cosmopolitan Houses in
Queens, where rents were
raised following a rehabilita-
tion including Iunds from the
city's Participation Loan
Program, tenants had to wait
six months for their certificates
while paying the higher rent.
When the certificates came
through, the tenants were
never reimbursed for the
additional rent they had paid.
The Community Service
Society tries to make use of
vouchers in its Ownership
Transfer Project. But HUD
regulations say tenants can't
use the vouchers until the
renovation of a building is
complete. Howard Banker of
the OPT program says, ''The
tenants can only pay what
they can pay." So C55 must
make up the difference
between costs and tenant
incomes until the vouchers can
be used, reducing the pool of
money it has for tenants to
take control of and renovate
other buildings. 0 Doug
6 CITY UMITS June/July 1989
Bronx native Mitchell Sviridoff is
taking over the leadership of the
Bronx Development Council now that
Richard Ravitch is running for mayor.
Sviridoff founded the Local Initia-
tives Support Corporation, which
helps finance low income housing,
and has worked for the Ford Founda-
tion, the city's Human Resources
Administration and labor groups .. .
Bronx squatters from the Commu-
nity on the Move group avoided a
recent eviction attempt because the
city withdrew its case against them,
apparently because of technical er-
rors. The squatters, who refer to
themselves as homesteaders, say they
expect the city to make another evic-
tion attempt sometime soon.
A renovated city-owned building
with 68 apartments for low income
and homeless families was opened
recently in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Renovation was done by Brooklyn
Ecumenical Cooperatives, with fund-
ing from the Department of Housing
Preservation and Development and
the Local Initiatives Support Corpo-
ration. The apartments, the first
completed as part of a joint demon-
stration project, will be offered to
families earning between $15,540 and
$22,560. LISC, along with the Enter-
prise Foundation, will help finance
a total of 3,000 apartments citywide
affordable to lower income families.
Editorialists waxed lyrical last
month after the Board of Estimate
approved a reduced plan for Colum-
bus Circle-failing to note that
Community Boards 4 and 7 opposed
the "compromise" deal, which re-
vamped design and cut the height of
the megatowers by 180 feet. Now
that the Central Park shadow will be
reduced, the Municipal Art Society
has dropped its lawsuit-without
telling the plaintiffs. Community
Board members say the real issue-
the overlarge scale of the project-
remains unresolved, and the 120
units of low income housing that
developer Mort Zuckerman has
promised to finance will not make a
dent in the displacement that will be
caused by the project.
Community Board 14 cried foul
last month when the Koch admini-
stration approved an Arverne pro-
posal from Oceanview Associates
before local leaders saw a copy of the
developers' plans. City officials said
the Oceanview proposal was so far
in front of the other two bids that
community input in the decision-
making process just wasn't neces-
sary. Oceanview Associates is a joint
venture of Forest City Ratner Com-
panies as well as Park Tower Estates.
Forest City is building MetroTech
and recently completed One Pierre-
pont Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn.
Park Tower is one of the prime devel-
opers in the 42nd Street Redevelop-
ment Plan. Oceanview bid $90 mil-
lion for the land, well above the city's
$25 million initial bidding price, and
promises to make approximately
$300 million in infrastructure im-
provements. The 10,000 condos will
cost between $155 ,000 and $180,000.
Staten Island
The end of septic tank use is more
clearly in sight for South Shore resi-
dents now that work is underway on
the second phase of the sewage
pumping station at Richmond Ave-
nue. Until the station is completed,
raw sewage will continue to be dis-
charged into the waters surrounding
the borough. 0
Competitively Priced Insurance
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(212) 279-8300
Ask for : Bala Ramanathan
June/July 1989 CITY LIMITS 7
Notes for the Candidates
from a Homeless Woman
rented apartment. I worked, put
myself through two colleges and
raised a son. I was a single parent for
nine years. At times, I was on wel-
fare. I always had a goal, drive and
In 1984 I moved to California and
started my own landscaping busi-
ness, which lasted for two years. I
shared a house with a women who
did carpet cleaning. Feeling distant
and detached, I came back East. This
is when my housing problem began.
Unable to find steady work as an
accounting clerk, all that I earned
was going to pay for small hotel
Alien at Home
We are often forced to move out of
state, or work like slaves to make
landlords rich while we remain poor.
Despite being born here, I am begin-
ning to feel like an alien in my own
country. New York City is becoming
a city only for the rich.
When I first was on the street, I
cleaned apartments two days a week.
I worked for someone who had their
own cleaning service. I didn't make
much money-just enough to eat and
wash clothes. The clients' apartments
were filthy and neglected, taking half
ofthe day to clean. I eventually quit,
getting food stamps instead.
I don't smoke, drink or use drugs.
Not having a place to live has not
brought a halt to my life. I still
function and get things done.
I sleep in Battery Park at night,
with a quilted comforter, a blanket
and light weight luggage. These items
are stretched out on a bench, flat-
tened cardboard underneath serves
as a cushion. When I get finished the
appearance is of a cot or a small bed.
All the ends are tucked in neatly. I
crawl inside, like a sleeping bag. My
body heat keeps me warm and insu-
lated. Two or three layers of clothing
help keep me warm in the winter
I carry a poncho for the rain. I
spread it out on the top of the com-
forter or in between the layers so
water will not penetrate.
Hub Cap Hearth
On cold nights, I build a small fire
using wood, a hub cap, newspaper
and matches. I dig a hole in the dirt,
plant rocks around the edges, place
logs and branches in the middle and
Subscribe to
Individual & Community group rate:
Just $15 brings you the best coverage
anywhere of the other New York.
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City State Zip
City Limits/40 Prince Street/New York/NY 10012
8 CITY UMITS Junel July 1989
put the hub cap on top. Lined in
between and around the wood is
newspaper. The fire burns for a few
The hub cap keeps the wind from
spreading the fire. The top ofthe hub
cap provides heat and steam, just
like a radiator. The smoke filters out
the side of the hub cap.
A radical feminist and idealist, I
don't fit in the business world. I
devoted this past winter to my last
resource-my own creative talents.
During the day, I write and paint in
the park or the Greenwich Village
library. On rainy days , I take my
work to a building down by South
Street Seaport that has a lower lobby
open to the public. I manage to stay
warm and dry.
I am a free woman and I refuse to
be institutionalized: no shelters,
prisons or hospitals. I buy food with
food stamps and occasionally get
sandwiches from two churches. I
wash my clothes once a week.
System Failure
I would like to get involved in
renovating an abandoned building. I
can get the necessary training for
carpentry, plumbing, electrical and
building maintenance. I have dis-
cussed this with several people of
authority. According to how the
system is set up, there is no way my
request would be granted. Because
of the politics involved, realtors with
capital and licensed contractors get
most of the city-owned property. The
poor, homeless, and even the middle
.class will never see most of these
The mayor has recently ordered
the homeless out of the park. The
park rangers are harassing me, and I
guess others as well, to get up at 6
a.m. They are hitting their horns and
telling me to get up. I refuse. This
goes on seven days a week and is
becoming a nuisance. For a while
they were even planning to close the
drop-in centers late at night. They
are trying to force the homeless into
city shelters.
But I am not going to spend an-
other three years waiting for hous-
ing. I am not going to count on the
politicians' decisions. 0
Vita Talarico, who is homeless,
spends her nights in Battery Park
City. Fearing recriminations, she
refused to have a photograph ac-
company this article.
City Views is a forum for opinions
and does not necessarily reflect
the views of City Limits.
for the lease of the historic
on the East River in Brooklyn
will be offered by the
NYC Department of Ports and Trade.
Call Mr. Charles Kriss at 806-6752 for more
information or to be included on the mailing list.
Since 1980 HEAT has provided low cost home heating oil . burner and boiler repair services.
and energy management and conservation services to largely minority low and middle income
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As a proponent of economic empowerment for revitalization of the city's communities. HEAT is
committed to aSSisting newly emerging managers and owners of buildings with the reduction of
energy costs (long as the Single most expensive area of building management).
HEAT has presented tangible opportunities for tenant associations. housing coops. churches.
community organizations. homeowners and small businesses to gain substantial savings and
lower the costs of building operations.
Working coll aboratively with other community service organizations with Similar goals. and
working to establish ItS Viability as a business entity. HEAT has committed its revenue gener-
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Through the primary service of providing low cost home heating oil various heating
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If you are inte .... ted in learning more about HEA'l
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call or write the HEAT office.
June/July 1989 CITY UMITS 9
Housing and Homelessness:
The Candidates Answer Back
ure, they'll all eliminate crack, crime and corruption. But who's going to
create housing for the homeless? And what about the nuts and bolts of city
politics-how to juggle the often-competing interests of economic, environ-
mental and community concerns? In an attempt to let readers sort the wheat from
the chaff, we gave each ofthe mayoral candidates a sizeable 1,200 words to write
about some of the city's toughest issues. Here are the questions we posed:
Housing Crisis: What is the city's responsibility in a housing crisis? How do
we best use and allocate public funds and resources like city-owned buildings
and land to respond to the housing crisis?
Balanced Development: Residents of many New York City neighborhoods
say their communities are being overdeveloped. What is the city's role in
balancing development with the city's already overworked infrastructure and
threatened open space, clean air and water resources?
Community Role: What role should communities have in the process of
choosing locations for homeless shelters, drug treatment centers, jails and
similar facilities? How much power should communities have to determine their
overall development?
We received replies from all but one of the candidates-Rudolph Giuliani. The
former U.S. attorney did not yet have a campaign staff when questions were
10 CITY LIMITS June/July 1989
David Dinkins
anhattan Borough President David
Dinkins presents himself as a thought-
ful candidate who can unify the di-
vided metropolis. Critics equate his
caution with indecision and question his
Democratic clubhouse background.
A graduate of Howard University and
Brooklyn Law School, Dinkins came up
through the political ranks of Harlem's Demo-
cratic Party, along with Basil Paterson, Percy
Sutton and Charles Rangel. He served in the
state Assembly, then held two low-profile,
high-patronage city posts, president of the
Board of Elections and city clerk. After losing
twice to Andrew Stein for Manhattan borough
president, Dinkins won the job after a third
shot and took office in 1986.
The Manhattan chiefis widely credited for
promoting the interests of minorities and
women and his candidacy is being backed by
the city's largest union, District Council 37, as
well as the politically active Local 1199. State
Attorney General Robert Abrams is also
backing Dinkins.
In 1987, the borough president issued a
report calling for the use of city capital and
housing stock for permanent apartments. How-
ever, he later gave Mayor Koch the deciding
vote on a plan to build 11 transitional shelters
for the homeless, all but one of them ticketed
for Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Dinkins
describes the shelter plan as a compromise,
but some saw his vote as little more than
political deal-making.
Fourteen years ago Dinkins was picked by
Mayor Abraham Beame to be deputy mayor,
but failure to fill out personal income tax
forms between 1969 and 1972 led to public
disgrace and he withdrew from consideration.
After paying the taxes owed, he eventually
moved back into the public spotlight.
Dinkins and his wife live in a three-bed-
room Mitchell-Lama apartment in Harlem.
They have two grown children.
Housing Crisis
ew Yark must first and foremost
provide housing for those most
in need, the homeless. The city
is providing virtually no permanent
housing for homeless single men and
women and has developed a five-
year plan which envisions maintain-
ing a permanent population of over
4,000 families in "temporary" facili-
ties. We must increase housing pro-
duction by at least 1,000 units per
year for the next five years so that
families unfortunate enough to lose
their homes remain in shelters and
hotels for no more than a few months,
rather than years, which is some-
times the case.
ter in the past year and it is a well-
known fact that no more than a frac-
tion of the housing fines levied in a
given year
pose projects which develop luxury
housing on city-owned property,
without the provision of any lower
income units
on-site. All
Secondly, the city must aggres-
sively preserve existing affordable
housing units and do everything pos-
sible to prevent the evictions of ten-
ants. The city has cut the number of
housing code inspectors by one-quar-
are col -
lected. We
can demon-
strate that
we are seri-
ous about
housing by
placing liens
plans ... should be fast-
tracked by the city."
sored hous-
ing develop-
ment should
units re-
served for
with life-
threatening violations and by fore-
closing on them if violations are not
The redevelopment of city-owned
property must be economically inte-
grated with an emphasis on provid-
ing opportunities to low income and
working poor families. I would op-
families .
The r e
must also be
an enhanced role for the community
in the development of city-owned
properties. In many areas, neighbor-
hood-based coalitions have devel-
opeq plans for the reconstruction of
local buildings paid for largely
through the sale of adjacent city-
owned land. These community-
sponsored plans have the potential
to produce hundreds of affordable
units and should be fast-tracked by
the city.
Balanced Development
he key element in guaranteeing
balanced development is the
comprehensive planning of
Were I mayor, the De-
partment of City Planning
would be responsible for
assembling the appropri-
ate agencies and coordi-
nating the production and
implementations of such
plans, based upon com-
munity input.
Through this process,
specific community needs
would be identified and
addressed, ensuring that
the infrastructure is not
overburdened, that school
seats are brought on linE)
in time to meet new needs,
that streets are recon-
structed in a manner coor-
dinated with other city
initiatives and that hous-
ing and social service pro-
grams are appropriately
targeted. In this way
growth and change can oc-
cur in a responsible and
predictable manner.
The city has the ability
and the capacity to direct
its capital and other re-
sources to areas where
growth needs to be encour-
aged. There is no need to
have certain areas overde-
veloped or subject to radical and un-
wanted changes.
Specifically regarding the prob-
lem of overdevelopment, I favor pro-
tecting neighborhoods by preserving
their existing character and scale.
New development should be
planned in context with the existing
character by ensuring that proposed
zoning will produce structures that
are consistent with the scale of what
is being preserved. Through this
mechanism, neighborhood growth
can be effectively controlled.
There are also opportunities in
neighborhoods where development
can coexist with preservation. Un-
June/July 1989 CITY UMITS 11
derutilized land and inappropriately
zoned arterial roadways can provide
development opportunities without
negatively affecting neighborhood
During the last few years, we have
seen the near collapse of two of our
most important bridges. Regular
maintenance of the infrastructure
of technical experts, the
CIty can perform design and con-
struction supervision work without
having to rely on outside consult-
. the of air qual-
Ity, to Improve mobility
and au qualIty have been prelimi-
nary and have not proven to be effec-
tive. A comprehensive
program which includes
commuter benefits for
transit users rather than
motorists and better moni-
toring of express bus and
auto emissions will help
to improve the current mo-
bility and air quality con-
ditions and could help the
must be a routine function of the
city's operations. While $57 billion
has been allotted to implement the
city's 10-Year Capital Program, these
funds must be utilized according to
an overall plan which clearly identi-
fies priorities and encompasses main-
tenance as a major component.
In addition, in order to create a
comprehensive infrastructure pro-
gram that can be efficiently imple-
mented, the city must develop a
highly skilled technical work force.
The city's continuous use of con-
sultants over the years has left many
city agencies without adequate tech-
nical personnel. Through the re-
city to identify specific
"hot" spots and specific
With regard to water re-
sources, we can safely
assume that drought emer-
gencies will continue to
occur. In the Manhattan
Borough Board budget rec-
ommendations this year, I
have suggested that a spe-
cial unit be established
within the Bureau of Wa-
ter Supply, with the man-
date of furthering water
conservation efforts. In
addition, maintenance of
the infrastructure will
help prevent excessive
Community Role
hose facilities gener-
ally perceived by
communities as nega-
tively impacting on the quality of
life-homeless shelters, drug treat-
ment centers, jails-are nevertheless
a necessary reality of urban life if we
are to begin to address the city's most
serious social problems.
Community reluctance to accept
such facilities is understandable, but
hostility to such projects has been
exacerbated by the policies of the
current administration through the
placement of mamIUQth, disorgan-
ized, underserviced centers in neigh-
borhoods without appropriate com-
munity review.
(continued on page 23)
12 CITY LIMITS June/July 1989
Harr'ison J. Goldin
OW in his fourth term as the city's comp-
troller, Harrison Goldin is credited for
his vast knowledge of city government
and his vigorous inspection of city
agencies-yet his political ascent has been
consistently scarred by traces of scandal.
ods of acquiring contributions from city bus-
inesses. Although Goldin was exonerated of
any illegality in all three instances, the taint
The reform Democrat is well-known as a
regular nay-caster on the Board of Estimate,
but it's unclear whether he genuinely opposes
projects and programs or wants to go on rec-
ord as a vociferous opponent ofthe mayor. He
recently cast votes against the Columbus Cen-
ter project and the settlement with developer
Bruce Eichner over the too-tall CitySpire tower.
The 52-year-old comptroller is married with
three sons and lives on the Upper East Side. He
graduated from Princeton University, attended
Harvard and received a law degree from Yale.
After working for the civil rights division of
the U.S. Justice Department during the deseg-
regation era, the Democrat entered the state
Senate at age 29. The self-dubbed "young
dynamo" was re-elected four times before
running for his city post.
In the late 1970s Goldin was accused of
trying to steer a lucrative bid for bus shelters
to a campaign contributor. He also had busi-
ness dealings with Ivan Boesky, the convicted
insider trader, and the Feerick Commission
on Government Integrity questioned his meth-
January campaign filings show that the
new Goldin '89 Committee raised almost
$450,000, with more than $150,000 from exec-
utives of financial firms. At least 45 of those
who donated are employed by companies who
do business with the comptroller's office.
Housing Crisis
here is no more important part
of the infrastructure of our city
in determining the quality of
life than our housing. Yet housing
for low and moderate income fami-
lies is near the vanishing point-not
housing for the homeless poor, the
mentally disabled, drug addicts and
social dropouts, though we must and
should be concerned about them as
well. I am speaking of affordable
housing for the low and middle in-
come New Yorkers who have always
been the backbone of our city.
In the decade between 1970 and
1980, New York City has lost
hundreds of thousands of people,
most of them leaving simply because
there was no place for them to live.
New York City needs a comp-
rehensive plan that goes far beyond
zoning regulations, one that care-
fully combines housing and construc-
tion rehabilitation with overall eco-
nomic development. It is the respon-
sibility of the mayor to make this
In April 1987, I released a report,
"Room to Spare but Nowhere to Go, "
which documented the city' s ability
to permanently house some 4,000
homeless families in partially occu-
pied city-owned buildings within 12
to 18 months. The one-time rehabili-
tation costs for these 4,000 vacant
apartments would total only $78
million, approximately half of the
capital costs of implementing Mayor
Koch's proposal to build 15 tempo-
rary shelters. Additionally, my pro-
posal would provide housing for
more than twice as many people.
More important, it would provide
4,000 real apartments where fami -
lies could live. My report concluded
that about 800 of these 4 ,000 vacant
were almost immediately hab-
They needed only minor re-
paIrs-a coat of paint, a little plas-
ter-at a cost of just under $3 mil-
lion. Thus far the city has not moved
towards renovating these vacant
In December 1988, I released
another report revealing that the
Department of Housing Preservation
and Development has greatly exag-
gerated the number of apartments it
has renovated. HPD claimed to have
created 10,722 units as ofJuly 1987.
The reality was closer to 5,600.
Apartments are counted twice, and
sometimes three times. In addition.
the city has approximately 5,000
vacant buildings that we estimate
could be renovated to yield 24.000
apartments. Put simply, HPD doesn't
know what it is doing. You can't
trust any of their claims.
The city must establish a uniform
record-keeping system for the city's
occupied and vacant in rem build-
ings. HPD and the Human Resources
Administration must work together
to insure that vacant apartments are
rented as soon as repairs are com-
Further, in my 16 years as comp-
troller, I have tried, as custodian of
the largest single pool of non-tax
funds available in this city, to steer
housing development and invest-
ment policies in a constructive di-
rection. A series of targeted invest-
ment programs I introduced have
benefited the city's housing market,
yet still meet strict invest-
ment criteria for the pen-
sion funds of our city work-
ers and retirees that I over-
see. It is what I call "social
We began in 1981 when
interest rates were hover-
ing at 15 percent or higher
and banks were redlining
entire neighborhoods that
were in transition or disre-
pair. We hired, by competi-
tive bidding, an agent to
pool Federal Housing Ad-
ministration and Veterans
Administration mortgages
on one- to four-family
houses in New York City in
packages of at least $1 mil-
lion. The Government Na-
tional Mortgage Associa-
tion, known as Ginnie Mae,
then certifies these mort-
gages and guarantees pay-
ment. The agent sells the
Ginnie Mae certificates to
our pension systems, which
then enjoy an appropriate
return on their investments
at virtually no risk. As a re-
sult mortgages at reason-
cost become available
in areas of our city where
banks would otherwise not
consider them.
In 1984, we began similarly. to
finance rehabilitation of occupIed
rental apartment houses-a
that has halted abandonment
ings and improved living condItions
for more than 20,000 New Yorkers. A
third program is designed to
banks' strict mortgage loan reqUlre-
ments for )1oung New Yorkers and
make possible first-time homeown-
ership. d and develop all
We must eXPfwe are to stabilize
such programs 1
June! July 1989 CITY UMITS 13
and rebuild our housing infrastruc-
ture, our social foundation. This is
the direct responsibility ofthe mayor
and should be a top priority.
Balanced Development
e must be terribly careful of
land use throughout our city,
especially overly rapid devel-
opment in Manhattan and the cen-
ters of the other boroughs that could
affect the quality of life for all o.f us.
All too often, devel?pment projects
have little to do WIth human con-
cerns, but rather the profitability of
special interests who only
a small number of our CItizens.
Two years ago, I on
chair of the City Plannmg ComIIl;ls-
sion to conduct a comprehenslVe
study ofthe West Side, and I
250 000 in the budget forfus
' h or has re se
of the funding. As
I have told the City Planning Com-
mission, such a study should include
zoning, transportation, community
services, the adequacy of light and
air, neighborhood amenities (includ-
ing shopping, parking and recrea-
tion space) direct and indirect dis-
placement of residents, the status of
industrial and commercial establish-
ments, open space, pedestrian and
traffic congestion and noise and air
I have opposed several
large projects because I felt
they represented spot zon-
ing without comprehensive
planning for the neighbor-
hood. Specific projects I
have opposed for this rea-
son include the Zeckendorf
project at 14th Street and
Union Square, the rezoning
of Strauss Park on the Upper
West Side and the Glick
project at 60th Street and
First Avenue.
Regarding the sale of air
rights, I have frequently
stated that a building should
be approved on its own
merits, not on the basis of a
deal. I did oppose the trans-
fer of air rights from the
landmark High School of
Performing Arts to be trans-
ferred to a 48-story office
tower, the Americas Tower
on West 46th Street in Man-
hattan. The proposed build-
ing was too bulky and too
dense for the area.
Moreover, we must be cer-
tain that the city's fragile
infrastructure can support
any new activity. We m';lst
recognize the need to
and especially to mamtam
the infrastructure. The
mayor and his administration must
be aware of the impact .of
development on the entIre enVIron-
ment of New York.
Community Role
learly, communities and the bor-
oughs where they are locatE!d
must have an important say In
the nature of their own development.
(continued on page 23)
14 CITY LIMITS June! July 1989
Henry Hewes
enry Hewes is running for mayor on the
Right-to-Life ticket and seeking the GOP
nomination as well. He cites as his pre-
vious political experience leadership of
the Pat Robertson for President Campaign in
New York State.
units under construction as part of the city's
Vacant Buildings Program and the Dollar
Building Program.
The mayoral hopeful is a registered
Republican and describes himself as a builder
oflow and moderate income housing, with 320
A native of New York City, Hewes acquired
bachelor's degrees from the State University
of New York, and a master's in urban planning
from Hunter College. He lives on the Upper
East Side in a Mitchell-Lama development
with his wife and three children.
Housing Crisis
discussion of the city' s housing
crisis must begin with the ad-
mission that the existing system
of regulation, financing and
incentives has failed. If we
simply do more of what we
are doing now, we will not
solve the problem. The city
must accept the responsibil-
ity to help make decent hous-
ing available for those who
cannot provide it for them-
selves, to the extent it is within
our fiscal means to do so. In
addition, the city must pro-
tect the people of New York
through zoning, building and
design codes that guard the
interests of the public with-
out unnecessarily increasing
the cost of housing to the
There are three specific ar-
eas where the city can use its
economic and political re-
sources to reduce the ob-
to effectively dealing
WIth the housing crisis :
1) The city invests the bulk
of its financial and real es-
tate resources in bUilding new
housing units or rehabilitat-
ing This proc-
ess IS mefficient in that it vastly
overpays for most units processed by
the bureaucracy and results in only a
few families (five percent ofthose in
need) getting a brand new
Most of those in need of hous-
!ng-1?eople doubled up in one-fam-
Ily Ulllts or living in very bad condi-
tions-make less than $15,000 per
year. These people's capacity to pay
rent does not cover the cost of main-
tenance, and they cannot even afford
the low income units now being built
br the The city should limit its
mvolvement in housing pro-
and concentrate its
financIal resources in providing rent
to all New Yorkers who
q.uallfy. As part of such an effort the
CIty should sell much of its land 'and
vacant buildings to builders on the
condition that title will revert to the
city ifnew housing is not created on
the site within three years ofthe sale.
The proceeds from such sales
could be used to fund rent
vouchers. And the land made
available would facilitate hous-
ing production.
2) The city is a maze of rent
and zoning regulations. Rent
control, rent stabilization and
various subsidy programs all
combine to impede the func-
tion of the market. While this
regulation is not the root cause
of our housing crisis, it has the
impact of distorting the market
for housing. Those who live in
a regulated space have a per-
sonal advantage that they keep
regardless of income or need.
In a very real sense, these sys-
tems of rent regulation allo-
cate housing away from those
who need it most. Rent regula-
tion also reduces the tax base
of the city. As is often said
"R I '
ent contro has become a sub-
sidy paid for by the poor and
the young." The city needs to
move away from rent
regulatIOn. By remOVing each
unit from the system as it be-
comes we can do this with-
deprIvmg any existing tenant of
hIS or her home. In addition, the city
get out of the business of
tax breaks and zoning incen-
tIve.s to developers. Let us have a
that is simple and
aIr an then let's stick to it.
June! July 1989 CITY UMITS. 15
. 3) .The cost of housing construc-
tIon m New York is outrageous As
a builder of low and moderate' in-
come housing units, I know that I
can put up a union-
stamped, fireproof,
factory-built two-
?edroom apartment
m most areas of the
country for $40,000
to $50,000. In New
York City, however,
the city is sub-
sidizing develop-
ments where two-
bedroom units sell
for more than
$100,000. We will
not really be able
to deal with our
housing crisis until
we take action to get
construction costs
down to levels af-
fordable to ordinary
people. There are
many ways in
which the city's
building process inflates the cost of
The zoning resolution is com-
plex and restrictive. Few buildings
are as-of-right. We need more,
cheaper land and as-of-right con-
For example, inaBrooklyn
virtually every other juris-
permits use of plastic
pIpe, York shll requires more
expensIve metal pipe. Getting a build-
ing permit takes as much as five
months in New York as opposed to
.to 10 days in many other juris-
New York City's Department of
Housing Preservation and Develop-
ment's design regulations inflate the
real costs
of build-
which we
are plan-
ning, the
number of
units we
can pro-
duce is lim-
ited by
parking re-
ments. This
"Systems of rent
regulation allocate
housing away from
those who really
need it."
ing. If we
are in a
erne r -
gency, per-
haps we
could af-
ford to cut
out the sec-
ond bath-
room in the
roo m
units. Imposed
despite the
fact that the development is in a low
income area where residents are un-
likely to own cars.
The building code and the build-
role in helping to provide fi-
nancmg to building development.
If we are to meet the needs of New
Yorkers, the city must make a real ef-
fort to get the costs
of housing in the
city down to levels
that can be afforded
?y and
m lme WIth reality.
The city cannot
solve the housing
problems of New
Yorkers with a capi-
tal budget program
to build housing,
rent control and
zoning bonuses. It
must commit itself
to permit the mar-
ket to build inex-

houSlllg WIthout
unnecessary regula-
tion. If city re-
sources are to be
used to fight this
battle, they must be
used primarily to help support
people, not to subsidize real estate .
Balanced Development
he city has an obligation not to
permit development that exceeds
the capacity of the infrastruc-
ture. This should be done through
zoning. Within this context, the city
must accommodate over 400,000 new
units over the next decade.
Community Role
ing department are a maze of petty
regulations, often without real pur-
pose. The department's implemen-
tation of the city's building codes
unnecessarily raises costs and slows
down the process on all projects. For
Unions in New York City often
use their power to disrupt construc-
tion and bleed money out of the con-
struction process. The same is true of
organized crime and freelance extor-
tionists pretending to represent mi-
nority construction workers. .
There is not enough competl-
tion among developers to control the
profits extracted. The city has a con-
ost communities rationally
object to most development
of jails, shelters and drug
treatment facilities within their
borders. Everyone wants these things
in other neighborhoods. In order to
build what we need, these decisions
must be made on a citywide basis.
The communities that make up the
City of New York are part of a larger
whole. In planning, however, we
must give due consideration to a
community's vision of its future
development. 0
16 CITY LIMITS June/July 1989
Edward I. Koch
ew York's three-term mayor, Edward I.
Koch, won the previous election by a
resounding margin, but since then cor-
ruption scandals have rocked his ad-
ministration and some say his aggressive pro-
development policy has backfired.
the biggest subsidies are going to middle income
Generous tax breaks and zoning bonuses
helped spur luxury development and fueled the
financial industry under the leadership of the
ebullient city chief. But last year's stock market
crash exposed the tenuous roots of these spi-
ralling advances.
Although Koch campaigned as a reformer,
scandals involving extortion and rigged con-
tracts led to the downfall of several of his com-
missioners and political cronies. And in recent
months the mayor's Talent Bank was blasted as
an alleged patronage mill.
Despite his troubles, the mayor receives loyal
support from the Staten Island Democrats, and
is expected to gain backing from some of the
uniformed unions. He has amassed more than
$1 million in campaign funds, with the most re-
cent records of campaign filings showing that
about $125,000 was donated by employees of
real estate and development concerns.
While condominium construction boomed,
the ranks of the city's homeless rose beyond
70,000. The mayor touts that his administration
does more for the homeless than any other city,
but this occurred only after a series of court
mandates forced action. Three years ago, the
mayor announced a 10-year, $5.1 billion hous-
ing plan, but critics say that more than a third of
the housing that will be created is not targeted
to those who need it most, adding that some of
Born in the Bronx, the mayor graduated
from New York University Law School. He
won a seat on the New York City Council in
1966, and two years later he was elected to the
U.S. House of Representatives, where he served
five terms, until he was elected mayor in 1977.
Housing Crisis
t its inception, the Reagan ad-
ministration declared an end to
the federal government's historic
commitment to build low and moder-
ate income housing.
My administration was not immo-
bilized by the federal retreat. In 1986,
the city responded with its plan for re-
plenishing the housing stock for
homeless, low, moderate and middle
income people. My 10-year, $5.1 bil-
lion housing plan calls for the devel-
opment of 252,000 housing units by
building them from scratch rehabili-
or dete-
noratIng bUIldIngs and investing in
preventive to save both pri-
vate and publIcly-owned bUildings
before they fall to ruin.
of the plan include: the
of 84,000 new units, includ-
Ing 47,000 through the reconstruction
bE . vacant, structurally-sound
UI Ing m the city's possession; the
distribution of 60 percent of the hous-
ing to families earning below $19,000
(low income), 27 percent to families
earning no more than $32,000 (mod-
erate income) and 13 percent to fami-
lies earning between $32,000 and
$53,000 (middle income). Under the
10-year plan, we will be creating
15,000 new apartments for the home-
less. Through other programs in the
operating budget, we will produce
6,000 more homeless apartments.
We are meeting these goals. Entire
communities in the Bronx, Harlem
and Brooklyn are undergoing
a renaIssance, as apartments are pro-
duced, advertised inlocal and general
circulation newspapers and rented
through a lottery system to deserving
New Yorkers. Some 1,000 new apart-
ments a month are coming off our
production line.
. The money we have budgeted for
thIS is growing every year
and IS Indeed being used to produce
housing. In fiscal year 1988, we spent
$456 million, which is 110 percent of
the money we budgeted. This year we
will spend $640 million. Next year,
we are projecting spending on hous-
ing construction $850 million. What
this mean in actual production
figures? In two years, our housing
program has generated 17,000 new
housing starts. We are doing twice as
much in New York as the next 10
largest cities in America combined,
more than the federal government at
peak of its own housing program
In the early 1970s.
This program is possible for two
reasons. First, I made the unprece-
deCision in 1986 to spend city
c.apItal funds on housing construc-
han. New Y Citris virtually alone
Amencan cIlles in making this
Second, the city's re-
turn to fiscal good health restored our
ability to borrow the funds to build
homes for hundreds of thousands of
New Yorkers. Without the specific
policy decision to build and the fi-
nancial confidence of the market, the
city could not be building housing.
Balanced Development
ithout new development, New
York City would stagnate. In
1977, the year before I took
office, more office space was built in
Morris County, New Jersey
than in the entire City of
New York. Our efforts to en-
courage development have
produced construction and
office jobs, revenue for the
city and commitments by
corporations to remain in
New York.
Development generates
the revenue that helps pro-
vide services. Over 20 years,
residential and commercial
constructio.n in the city will
produce $23 billion in city
tax collections. And, though
some have complained
about the tax abatements that
have been granted for this
development, they total just
$1.5 billion. In effect, we
have invested $1.5 billion
for a $23 billion return di-
rectly to the city's coffers.
Without city guidance,
the privf#.te market would
concentrate its investment
in certain areas and ignore
others. Therefore, the fun-
damental development pol-
icy has been "balanced
growth"-balanced within
communities and balanced
citywide. Through this pol-
icy, we have redirected growth to
areas of the city that would benefit
most. Our most important tools have
been tax policy, zoning and our in-
vestment in infrastructure and hous-
ing. -
We have used these tools to create
new commercial sub-centers outside
of Manhattan. The most visible prod-
ucts of our policy are Citicorp in Long
Island City, Queens, the numerous
economic development projects in
downtown Brooklyn and Fordham
Plaza in the Bronx. In these and other
cases, we have not promoted growth
June! July 1989 CITY UMITS 17
for growth's sake, but to enlarge the
city's economic base by creating jobs
and businesses citywide. When we
determine that an area no longer needs
incentives for growth, we remove the
tax and zoning incentives that helped
create the initial devlopment, as we
did in east midtown.
At the same time, we must preserve
what is unique about New York and
its neighborhoods. Striking the right
balance between growth and preser-
vation is a judgment call about which
reasonable persons may differ from
project to project. In making deci-
sions about individual projects, I am
guided by the City Planning Commis-
sion's principle of "contextual zon-
ing": every new development should
relate to the general scale and charac-
ter of what surrounds it, in terms of its
height, bulk, density and frontage.
This principle has shaped my
opposition to plans for several major
developments. For instance, I insisted
that the developer ofBrighton-by-the-
Sea in Brooklyn reduce the height and
density of the project before I would
be willing to support it. With regard
to Riverwalk on Manhattan's East Side,
I will not support the inclusion ofho-
tels and conference space as part of
the development. In both of these
cases, the developers are redrafting
their plans to account for my position.
I oppose Donald Trump's plans for
Television City on the West Side and
will only support a project
like the original proposal for
that site, which was less than
half the size of Television
I supported the Board of
Standards and Appeals rul-
ing that a developer must
remove 12 stories from a 31-
story building on East 96th
Street that was overbuilt in
violation of the zoning reso-
Even as I have encouraged
growth in the city, I have
defended the character of
communities and the quali-
ties that make New York
special. The key is balanced
Community Role
ommunities must be
consulted, through
their elected officials
and community boards, on
the local siting of facilities.
However, such consultation
should never allow for a
community veto. In siting
undesirable facilities, the
city is discharging its pri-
mary responsibility to meet
citywide service needs. Even when
these facilities are distributed as
widely and equitably as possible, the
host community will often feel a bur-
Community opposition to the place-
ment of a shelter, a jail, an AIDS facil-
ity or a resource recovery plant is
understandable. For many residents,
these facilities do not enhance the
qua}ity of life in a neighborhood. But
the city is required-both legally and
morally-to meet the need for jail
(continued on page 23)
18 CITY LIMITS June/July 1989
Herbert London
olitical newcomer Herbert London of-
fers the campaign a fresh face and a
strong dose of supply-side economics.
Born and raised in New York City,
London is dean of New York University's
Gallatin division, an educational program
based on the "Great Books." He is seeking the
Republican and Conservative nominations.
He supports the sale of public housing to ten-
ants, and says "license-free" zones should be
created to spur commercial activity in de-
pressed parts of the city.
The candidate attended public high
schools and received his bachelor's and
master's degree from Columbia, and a doc-
torate from NYU. The author of numerous
books and newspaper articles, he has over-
seen the evaluation of educational programs
in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush, and
patrolled the South Bronx in a police car as
part of a 1978 program of the National En-
dowment for the Humanities.
Housing Crisis
he city administration has a re-
sponsibility to extricate itself
from policy creation or man-
ipulation whicb fosters housing
shortages and privileges for some at
the expense of others. Clearly, the
most significant government intru-
sion into the marketplace is rent
control, a measure which, in fact, is
a hidden subsidy offered to
those with privilege from those
without it. If the city admini-
stration is serious about increas-
ing the housing stock, the an-
swer lies in the strict enforce-
ment of vacancy decontrol laws
for the roughly 220,000 rent-
controlled units. At the moment
a person who resides in a rent-
controlled apartment for 20
years has more rights than the
owner ofthe apartment. He can
pass the privilege on to an aunt,
uncle, friend or associate. As I
see it, this is a clear deprivation of
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment
The best way to respond to the so-
called housing crisis is for the city to
get out of the real estate business. At
the moment the city government
owns 103,000 units in buildings that
landlords walked away from. As taxes
London is married, has three children
and resi.des in Washington Square Village.
go up and are stabilized or static, the
ultimate result is clear. Most small
property owners are middle-class
people trying to eke out a living from
a three- or four-family home. As I see
it, the city should sell every unit it
presently owns at a public auction. It
should ease the construction codes
for these in rem units so that the cost
of renovation is less than the legal
"As I see it, the city
should sell every unit
it presently owns at a
public auction."
cost ofinterpreting the law. And last,
there should be a clear recognition
that the city government itself, in at-
tempting to be responsive to special
interests, has created the so-called
housing crisis. By relying on mar-
kets instead of social engineers this
problem can be resolved in a matter
of years.
My detractors invariably respond
to this analysis with the plaintive
cry that the poor will get lost in the
shuffle. On the contrary, the poor are
lost now. There is simply no reason
why the city cannot provide rent
vouchers for poor people which can
be used in privately constructed and
owned buildings. One can be com-
passionate without being foolish.
City-owned facilities represent
a scene from Dante's "Inferno,"
with crack vials on basketball
courts, drug dealers in the cor-
ridors and thugs on the park
benches. As anyone who has
tried knows, there is virtually
no way to oust the thugs from
public housing. If, however,
public buildings were privat-
ized and managed by tenant
councils the conditions of
decay and depravity could be
remedied. It is instructive that
while privatization schemes
of various kinds are being experi-
mented with in other cities, New
York does not have any program of
this kind at the moment.
Balanced Development
very resident of every commu-
nity resists development. This
attitude is a function of NIMBY
(Not In My Backyard). Yet New York's
greatness is in its density. Without
density New York would be New
Jersey. It is certainly not density that
is wrong, but the manner in which
land-use decisions are
made. In what sense is a
community board a re-
flection of community
concerns? Why aren't
such members elected?
If the Board of Estimate
is unconstitutional, what
body will make land-use
decisions and how will
this body be appointed?
Ultimately decisions re-
garding a community fall
into the maelstrom of
democratic procedures.
There isn't any formula
for determining overde-
velopment. In fact, what
is overdevelopment? De-
velopment standards in
Queens are obviously not
the same as in Manhat-
If city officials could
constrain their desire to control all
services, the strain on the so-called
infrastructure could be alleviated.
For example, I believe it makes sense
for the city administration to give
free land rights and air rights for the
construction of private roads and
bridges. Another bridge built with
private funds over the East River
would reduce traffic. Moreover, the
owner of this bridge could charge
any toll he wants thereby assuring
relatively unencumbered traffic
conditions. If commuters don't want
to pay the toll, they can use public
facilities. For those who want to get
to LaGuardia Airport during rush
hours this alternative highway would
be a godsend.
Similarly, the water supply is
easily controlled when residents pay
for their water with meters deter-
mining the level of use. This pricing
system would certainly relieve a
strain on the supply and would most
assuredly be the fairest way for allo-
cating use. In the case of poor people,
they would be given a voucher for
free water use up to an adequate
level depending on family size.
Once again the way to balance the
perceived needs of residents with
Junel July 1989 CITY UMITS 19
the reality of limited service "com-
modities" is a free-market pricing
system that assures the reasonable
use of each commodity and a voucher
plan or special dispensation which
demonstrates compassion and con-
cern for those who are poor or tem-
porarily down on their luck.
Community Role
he Supreme Court decision
which declared the Board ofEs-
timate unconstitutional since it
does not conform to the principle of
one person/one vote, affords New
York an opportunity to decentralize
authority for community decisions.
Clearly, no community wants a
prison, a homeless shelter or an in-
cinerator which may be perceived as
unsightly or destabilizing. And it is
also clear that each community
should have some influence over the
character oflocalland-use decisions.
However, there are matters over
which the City Council must decide
in order to maintain civic equilib-
rium. More prisons than we now
have are needed. If a prison isn't
built in Staten Island, then it must be
built in a setting with the fewest
downside effects. I would propose
that prisons be constructed in Hart
and North Brother islands because
they are unoccupied and are not likely
to cause community discontent. But
such sites are not always available.
The adjudication of community
sentiments must occur in a citywide
organization somewhat insulated
from local opinion. On
the other hand there must
be a commitment to de-
centralized authority for
the establishment ofbor-
ough budgetary priori-
ties. Whatever emerges
from the Charter Revision
Commission in the way
of a restructured govern-
ment, I would contend
that borough budgetary
councils with the power
to establish local budget-
ary needs and the ability
to make recommenda-
tions to the City Council
should be part of the new
government calculus.
New York, as a city
of 7 million, cannot be
ruled exclusively from
City Hall. There must be
some recognition that
each of the boroughs is idiosyncratic,
that each has service needs some-
what different from the other. New
York grew to its present size out of a
natural desire to expand the tax base.
But there is nothing particularly sac-
rosanct about the present size or city
When there is appropriate repre-
sentation recognizing the principle
of population size and minority in-
terests consistent with the Voting
Rights Act, the democratic process-
flawed as it may be-is still the most
effective way to decide where any
drug treatment center, a homeless
shelter or jail should be located.
What must be underscored is the
genuinely democratic nature of
the organization and the confidence
citizens of this town can have in
the manner in which decisions are
At the moment local interests
aren't represented, borough repre-
sentation on the Board of Estimate is
unrelated to population size and
confidence in governmental decision
making is, as a consequence, at a low
ebb. This can be changed and in the
process mitigate the effects of diffi-
cult land-use decisions. 0
20 CITY UMITS June/July 1989
Ronald Lauder
he son of cosmetics queen Estee Lauder,
Ronald Lauder is a candidate with cash
to spare and a business approach to
. running government.
So far, the president of Lauder Investments
has spent an estimated $2.5 million on his
campaign and his net worth is upwards of
$200 million.
An avid promoter of the principals of a
free-market economy, the Republican candi-
date is being endorsed by the Conservative
Party leaders and is also seeking the GOP
The Reagan administration appointed
Lauder to deputy assistant secretary of
defense from 1983-1986, then moved him
abroad to represent the United States as
ambassador to Austria. After his return, he
spent two years as state finance chairman
for the Republican Party and considered a
run for Congress from Suffolk County last
A graduate of Bronx High School of Science
and the University of Pennsylvania, Lauder
lives on the Upper East Side with his wife and
two children.
Housing Crisis
his city's responsibility in an
acute housing crisis is a simple
one. Entrepreneurship and free
enterprise must work for us. Fallow
city-owned properties and vacant
vate or charitable organizations'
money will do if a reasonable return
on investment is probable? The value
of a revived neighborhood is great-
no matter who pays for it-but the
value is enhanced when the same job
these properties to the marketplace,
too slow to address the needs of a
population desperate for more
homes. It is imperative that this
precious housing, some vacant, some
occupied, be divested soon and be-
city-owned land must
be transformed into new
profit-making centers
for the city. First, they
must be sold at auction
at reasonable prices and
then they should be in-
corporated into the
city's tax structure.
Municipal govern-
ment's mission for 1990
and beyond is to make
New York City's cli-
mate, both economic
and social, hospitable
to the creation of new
affordable housing on
its vacant land and the
rehabilitation of of the
older, but still sturdy,
city-owned housing
New York City's am-
bitious government-sponsored $5.1
billion plan to create housing over a
la-year period is admirable on one
level, the abstract level. Why spend
public money to do what what pri-
can be done with less public money.
The city should not be a landlord.
But today, the city owns thousands
of units of housing. This city's gov-
ernment is too slow to relinquish
come part of the vibrant
world of New York.
New York City must
also eradicate its assort-
ment of onerous regula-
tions, which stifle the
building of housing.
There are too many
regulations that have no
discernible relation to
valid concerns about
public health and safety.
Instead of assuring a
stable quality of life,
many of these regula-
tions merely benefit
special interests. The
city needs to remove the
most unnecessary of
these rules and create a
~ new environment for
~ building. New York
needs to provide the
means for the adoption of state-of-
the-art, cost-effective production
methods and thereby make building
a lot less costly and burdensome.
(continued on page 22)
Junel July 1989 CITY UMITS 21
Richard Ravitch
ichard Ravitch presents himself as the
"competence candidate," but skeptics
note that he has never proven himself
in elected office.
A New York native, 55-year-old Ravitch
graduated from Columbia University and Yale
Law School, and took over his family's busi-
ness, HRH Construction, one ofthe city's larg-
est development and contracting firms. He
built many towers, including the midtown
Manhattan Plaza apartment complex, which
remained afloat through massive Section 8
subsidies from the federal government - even
though the luxury-style housing serves few
low income residents. Aquarius Manage-
ment, which Ravitch heads, still manages the
Ravitch's credentials include chairman-
Housing Crisis
urrently, the city administra-
tion tries to solve our many
housing ills one project at a time.
There is no coordination, no overall
sound housing policy. This lack of
coordination has, in large part, con-
tributed to the greatest housing cri-
sis this city has seen since World
War II. The piecemeal approach is
unacceptable in a city where current
and future housing needs are esti-
mated at over 400.000 units.
ship of the Bowery Savings Bank, the state's
Urban Development Corporation and the
Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Ravitch has been lauded for rescuing UDC
from near bankruptcy in the mid 1970s, but
during that same time the agency shifted away
from its original goal-creating low and mod-
erate income housing-and set off on the path
towards promoting megadevelopments like
the 42nd Street project. At the MTA he set up
creative financing strategies for long-term
subway improvements and opposed the West-
way highway project. But the MT A union is
endorsing David Dinkins.
Divorced and the father of two sons, Rav-
itch lives on the Upper East Side. He recently
chaired the Charter Revision Commission and
the Bronx Development Council.
lion currently available and dedi-
cate it immediately to solving this
problem, so that we can all walk
down the streets again with pride. I
am a builder; I have built thousands
of units of affordable housing. I know
how to get it done.
Obviously, this crisis is most se-
vere for the poor, dramatically and
sadly demonstrated by the legions of
homeless on our streets. The home-
less problem is one that touches every
New Yorker because there are many
New Yorkers who know that they are
only one paycheck from homeless-
ness themselves.
coupled with vigorous code enforce-
ment, efficient land disposition proc-
esses and prompt environmental
City-owned buildings and land are
valuable resources that are improp-
erly utilized. The city needs to create
a plan and program for the timely
disposition of city-owned property
to be used for housing development.
Furthermore, the rehabilitation of the
vacant stock of approximately 50,000
units of in rem housing must become
a top priority of city management.
Rehabilitation is more economical
than new construction and can serve
to stabilize existing neighborhoods.
The city's overall response should
be to create an environment condu-
cive to the creation of affordable
housing. The city must reform the
basic tools that are essential to that
creation: a new zoning resolution,
up-to-date building and fire codes
In the allocation of public funds,
the highest priority of the city must
be to house the homeless. It is a
moral blight on the entire city that
we allow fellow New Yorkers to sleep
on the streets, in subway cars and in
cardboard boxes. We must spend
whatever is necessary of the $5 bil-
Balanced Development
he city's zoning resolution has
no relationship to existing com-
munities, their needs, or, for that
matter, the needs of the city as a
(Continued on page 22)
22 CITY UMITS Jun./ July 1989
LAUDER, cont'd from page 20
Balanced Development
ny discussion of overdevelop-
ment must begin with a men-
tion of the inappropriateness of
the city's Zoning Resolution for the
1990s. A top priority of a Lauder ad-
ministration would be the commu-
nity-aided revamping of the 1961
resolution to allow mixed land us-
age. The development burden placed
on current residential neighborhoods
must be alleviated; relief can be
achieved through the adoption of
mixed-use zoning.
Some of our most special, stable
neighborhoods are being threatened
and, in too many cases, are living
with overdevelopment.
Overdevelopment means many
things to many people, but mostly it
represents the unwarranted diminu-
tion of property value as well as the
unnecessary degradation of a neigh-
borhood's quality of life.
Overdevelopment means greater
structural density, which in turn
means fewer single-family homes.
That's an important concern for many
New Yorkers because homeowner-
RAVITCH, cont'd from page 21
whole. A new zoning resolution must
be formulated, reflecting the values
of the city; the present resolution
has gone virtually unchanged since
1962. .
Rezoning will provide the oppor-
tunity to preserve communities that
are working all over the city, while
simultaneously directing develop-
ment to available sites that will
enhance, rather than destroy,
existing vibrant neighborhoods.
The current administration's empha-
sis on developing Manhattan has
not only short-changed the other
boroughs, but obviously affected
the quality of life in Mallhattan
As mayor, I will develop a mean-
ingful strategy-which will include
zoning, energy and tax incentives-
to direct-growth to those areas of the
other four boroughs with available
sites and infrastructure to support
greater densities. In particular, I
ship is a paramount goal of most, if
not all, American families .
Overdevelopment means greater
population density, which then cre-
ates terrible strains on New York's
schools, sewers, streets, sanitation
and police services, to name a few of
the most vital city functions that
would be affected. Strains on these
municipal services means that the
taxpayers get less of what they are
continually asked to pay more for.
This must change.
Businessmen know that when a
dollar is paid, a dollar's worth of
service is expected in return. New
York City's taxpaying homeowners
deserve the same deal.
New York City needs to provide
something for its people that has no
price tag attached, but is in fact,
priceless. New York's government
must, above all else, assure its resi-
dents an economic and social envi-
ronment that secures a decent qual-
ity of life-not a way of life that falls
below standards of acceptability.
Finally, city government must
assure all, and especially the impor-
tant tax-paying middle class, that
the value oftheir biggest investment,
would emphasize de-
velopment activities at
locations with under-
utilized subway access.
Community Role
s chairman of the
Charter Revision
Commission, I was
a strong supporter of the
role of both the com-
munity planning boards
and the borough presi-
dents in the site selec-
tion process. I have pro-
pose? the city provide
fundmg to each com-
munity planning board
to hire a professional planner.
Too often, the function of commu-
nity boards has been a reactive one:
voting for-but more often against-
a planned shelter, jail, school. I would
place the initial responsibility for
identifying available sites for these
uses with the community boards and
their home, is not going to be jeop-
ardized by government intrusion.
Community Role
he current use of ULURP (Uni-
form Land Use Review Proce-
dure) may have to change in
light of the elimination of the Board
of Estimate from our land-use proc-
ess. Whatever successor vehicle the
Charter Revision Commission sees
fit to incorporate into the anticipated
November ballot, one very impor-
tant element must be recognized and
A community's priorities should
impact on design plans as well as the
choice of a site location. Community
input should occur at a real, signifi-
cant stage of a proposed project. A
community's involvement should
not be an ex-post facto affair, it must
be ongoing. Communities should
have a real say about where and how
a facility will be built.
When a neighborhood plays an
integral role in choosing where and
how the plans for projects will enter
their midst, compromises are more
likely. 0
the borough presidents. The city is
ill served by an imperial mayor who
dictates planning schemes upon the
city's communities . .
Each community board needs to
be involved, from the beginning, in
community planning and to equally
derive the benefits and share the
burdens of urban life. 0
DINKINS. cont'd from page 11
I believe that if such social service
facilities are well-managed and of
small scale, community opposition
and fear can largely be neutralized.
No community should be exempt
from responsibility for hosting
services for special needs popula-
tions. Within that requirement,
however, community leadership,
probably working through commu-
nity boards, should be given more
latitude to define the location of
such facilities. In other words, all
communities must accept a certain
share of such facilities, but should
be able to decide where they are to be
As borough president, I am often
asked to choose between voting
against worthy and needed projects
at the Board of Estimate or in-
curring vehement community oppo-
Instead of being forced into this
Hobson's choice, I have a principle
which I believe should be incorpo-
rated into city policy.
GOLDIN. cont'd from page 13
This is why, as part of the Charter
review process, I have proposed a
new Land Use Board that would re-
place many of the functions of the
Board of Estimate. This new panel
would consist of the comptroller,
president of the City Council and
borough president of the area where
the particular land-use issue is un-
der consideration. This will substan-
tially increase the local voice in such
critical questions-from one in 11 to
one in three.
Certainly, many citywide facili-
ties are essential to the development
of our city as a whole and the protec-
tion and well-being of our citizens.
Community planning boards, whose
members have a broad vision as well
as a desire to protect and defend
their own neighborhoods, playa vital
role in monitoring development of
neighborhoods. Hopefully, they will
serve wisely and consider the com-
mon good.
I have proposed a number of
initiatives that will attack problems
June' July 1989 CITY UMITS 23
That is, that every residential proj-
ect planned for a special needs popu-
lation-homeless, substance abusers,
foster care, mentally ill-be accom-
panied by a comprehensive neigh-
borhood development plan.
Specifically, I have proposed to
the current administration that de-
velopment plans be prepared for all
the city-owned properties (residen-
tial and commercial) located within
a one-square block radius from any
proposed social service site and sent
to my office prior to the approval of
any project.
Further, we have asked that such
neighborhood development occur
concurrently with the physical de-
velopment of the project. I would
propose, in addition, that such com-
prehensive development plans be
submitted to the relevant commu-
nity board as well.
I believe this policy makes sense
for city government and for individ-
ual communities, and as mayor will
adopt policies to make it happen. 0
including drug abuse and home-
lessness. Dealing with these munici-
pal crises will begin to remove some
of the need for growth in the num-
bers of jails and shelters. New York
State must begin to assume again
the burden of caring for the mentally
ill who form a large percentage of
the homeless on the streets of our
city-individuals who were released
years ago when the state decided to
unburden its own facilities. Return-
ing many of these persons to the
com petent state care they need would
relieve the need for new homeless
shelters in our communities where
they are not wanted. Expanded
drug-treatment programs will begin
to reduce the numbers of petty
street criminals crowding our jails.
This type of managed approach to
the burdens of our communities is
vital if the next mayor is to improve
the quality of life for all our
neighborhoods. 0
KOCH. cont'd from page 16
cells, to dispose of its garbage, to care
for AIDS patients, to shelter the
homeless. In fact, the pressure to
address the problems of AIDS, drug
dealing, garbage disposal and home-
lessness often comes from the very
groups that later oppose the siting of
the necessary facilities in local
Ultimately, citywide needs have to
be met. Few communities volunteer
to host the facility that will meet
them. In publicizing our plans for
facility siting, I have repeatedly asked
local elected officials or community
groups to suggest alternatives to the
locations that our agency experts have
found. I would prefer to implement a
reasonable alternative provided by the
community, instead of imposing our
plan. Yet, the most frequent sugges-
tion we get is, "Anywhere but here."
Instead, we are criticized for bad
What planning process could ac-
commodate the opposition of com-
munities to the creation of facilities
that must be kept large enough to
meet the extraordinary demand for
city services? As mayor, I have been
praised for doubling the number of
city jail cells in the last five years.
Yet, communities as diverse as Bay
Ridge and the West Village are ada-
mant in their opposition to our siting
jail barges locally. The City of New
York provides more services to
homeless people than any city in the
country. Communities do not want
homeless shelters. The city generates
so much garbage that we are running
out oflandfill. Communities demon-
strate to block resource recovery
I do not question the motives of
community leaders opposing these
facilities. Indeed we prefer to incor-
porate suggestions from local leaders
into our planning, so these facilities
are better integrated into the commu-
nity. But a mayor can not allow his
sympathy for a particular commu-
nity's concerns to override his funda-
me:ptal responsibility to provide serv-
ices for all New Yorkers. 0
24 CITY LIMITS June/July 1989
Did Somebody Say Deal?
federal housing funds, but the na-
tion's largest city hasn't received a
dime from the Section 8 moderate
rehabilitation program since 1986.
Anyone wondering what happened
to the funds is advised to look at a
recent audit by the Department of
Housing and Urban Development's
inspector general , which shows how
former federal officials and well-
connected developers manipulated
the program for their own profit. Their
cronies handing out the contracts
appear to have paid scant attention
to where help was needed most.
The five- and six-figure consult-
ant fees collected by Republican
honchos like James Watt, the late
John Mitchell and former Senator
Edward Brooke, made a brief splash
in the city's dailies-but the inside
deals stretch beyond national fig-
ures and come right home to New
York-based Related Companies. Re-
lated is currently planning several
projects in the city including River-
walk, a controversial waterfront
development slated to receive a large
city tax subsidy. Federal documents
reveal how Related and its associ-
ates were able to steer precious fed-
eral funds to projects in Dade County,
Florida and Erie County, New York.
Shuffied in Buffalo
Related Companies head Stephen
Ross and Dennis Penman of M.J.
Peterson Company together pur-
chased the 316-unit Allenhurst
Apartments in Amherst, New York
in 1985 and simultaneously engi-
neered funding for the moderate
rehab of the site. Penman first ap-
proached the Belmont Shelter Cor-
poration, the group under contract
with Erie County to operate as the
area's public housing authority, to
sponsor the Section 8 application.
Belmont rejected Penman's proposal
because it didn't meet the group's
guidelines, according to Belmont
president Elizabeth Huckabone. The
Buffalo area hadn't received Section
8 moderate rehabilitation funding
since 1983 and Belmont already had
86 applications pending.
HUD regulations say that local
housing authorities are supposed to
make applications for federal rehab
dollars based on need, and if funding
is approved then issue advertise-
ments to developers for proposals.
Despite Belmont's rejection, Penman
and Related remained undeterred and
continued to proceed outside the
normal "loop." Peter Joseph, a Re-
lated vice president and former city
Department of Housing Preservation
and Development official involved
in the controversial Carnegie Park
project (City Limits, May 1988),
approached the New York State
Housing Finance Agency to support
the Allenhurst plan. According to
the HUD investigation report, Joseph
told Eugene Meyers, deputy execu-
tive director of NYSHF A, that Re-
lated and Penman had access to HUD
rehab funds. Meyers told a HUD
investigator that no other developer
had ever approached the state agency
about such funding. The agency
agreed to take the role of public
housing authority in sponsoring the
request for the rehab of 316 units in
Erie County, but was apparently
unfamiliar with the program's rules.
Huckabone was surprised to learn
that HUD's Washington, D.C. office
granted the rehab funds. Stranger
still was the failure to advertise the
available funds , as proscribed by
federal regulations. NYSHF A applied
them directly to Allenhurst.
Such arrangements became pos-
sible when the HUD allocations were
made discretionary in 1983. Several
senior level HUD officials became
responsible for making the recom-
mendations, and according to HUD
investigators no written records of
these allocation meetings were kept.
The process became ripe for cro-
nysim, with former HUD officials
not only receiving huge consultant
fees but also acting as the develop-
ers. J. Michael Queenan, a former
HUD regional director, was the
owner/developer of 20 projects se-
lected for program funding.
The projects developed by these
insiders are virtually profit-insured
because HUD guarantees rent pay-
ments for eligible low income ten-
ants up to 20 percent above rents in
existing Section 8 developments. At
the same time Reagan administra-
tion officials were touting free-mar-
ket economics and gutting federal
housing programs, supporters were
profiting handsomely off the moder-
ate rehab program. William Ratzlaff,
executive director of the Denver
County housing authority in Colo-
rado, told an investigator, "Look at
all the former HUD people involved
in mod rehab, then look at all the
allocations and the Republican Party.
If the Democrats were in office, the
allocations would go elsewhere."
The allocation to Allenhurst may
well prove Ratzlaff' s point. Penman
was the chairman of Reagan's 1984
re-election committee in Erie County.
Penman is also an active campaign
contributor, including a $1,000 con-
tribution to the Erie County Republi-
can Committee in September 1984
and $800 to Republican Senator
Alfonse D' Amato one month later.
Additionally, Penman made several
contributions during 1984 and 1985
totaling $3,250 to the Political Ac-
tion Committee of the National As-
sociation of Homebuilders. The
homebuilders' PAC is one of the
largest in the country, and according
to Penman' s statement to a HUD
investigator, it was through the asso-
ciation that he learned of the availa-
bility of Section 8 funds. (Ross and
Joseph of Related each also made
$1,000 contributions to D'Amato
between December 1983 and 1985.)
The benefits of these ties may have
also helped in the developers' re-
sponse to the HUD investigation.
Joseph told a HUD investigator that
he had been informed ofthe upcom-
ing investigation and he and Pen-
man discussed answers to some
expected questions.
Dealing in Dade
The Related project in Dade
County, Florida offers an even starker
example of deal-making. Jorge Perez,
president of Related's Florida sub-
sidiary, wanted to secure moderate
rehabilitation funds for the 112-unit
Seagrape Village Apartments and 84-
unit Polynesian Apartments. Believ-
ing contacts were important to get
the deal done, Perez hired former
HUD Deputy General Counsel Ger-
ald Kisner as a consultant.
For a $56,000 fee, a 15 percent
ownershir in the property and 15
percent 0 the cash flow and profits,
Kisner set out to secure the Section 8
allocation. Kisner's cover letter ac-
companying his letter of agreement
with Related noted, "You should
know I have recently met with all the
appropriate officials in Washington
to discuss this matter. We now only
have to await a decision."
Although he personally came to
Perez' office to pick up the $56,000
check in January 1988 after HUD
awarded the units for Seagrape,
Kisner doesn't appear to have worked
very hard for the money. He told a
HUD investigator he could not re-
member any details of the business
arrangement or even the name of the
building. Nor could he remember
who he talked to in Washington.
Since the six pound investigation
report was released, HUD Secretary
Jack Kemp has suspended the mod-
erate rehabilitation program, tempo-
rarily torpedoing Seagrape and some
other projects receiving allocations
in the past year. But Kemp insists
there is "no evidence of criminality
or leged wrongdoing of any kind,"
just some abuses of the program' s
process. Nonetheless, the HUD audit
is now under review by the U.S.
June/July 1989 CITY LIMITS 25
Department of Justice, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation and the
House of Representative's housing
This abuse by former government
officials and developers like Related
may not be technically illegal-but
408 Jay Street, Brooklyn, N.V. 11201
it appears to have diverted millions
of needed rehabilitation dollars away
from New York. Despite its involve-
ment in these deals, Related still
stands to gain a hefty tax break from
the city' s coffers if its Riverwalk
project is approved. D
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Your community housing insurance professionals
26 CITY UMITS Jun./ July 1989
To the Editor:
"South Bronx Crossroads" (City
Limits, May 1989) is an important
feature story describing the in-prog-
ress and proposed public and pri-
vate development projects for the
area and the community debates these
plans have sparked.
The article ends with a historical
overview, an effort to situate current
activities. I must take issue with your
interpretation of neighborhood dete-
rioration in the mid-1970s. You claim
that the South Bronx was "".set on
fire first by landlords, then by ten-
ants who feared for their future and
knew that being burnt out of their
apartment gave them priority for
public housing." This statement gives
the impression that there were two
fire waves with different origins of
equal intensity and destructiveness.
I spent five years as director of the
Neighborhood Anti-Arson Center, a
research, policy, technical assistance
and direct action project. It is true
that the housing authority gave pri-
ority to tenants who were fire vic-
tims and that there were times when
tenants saw this as an incentive to
burn themselves out of their apart-
ments. However, no study or statisti-
cal analysis has ever documented
this as a widespread practice. In all
the volumes of news stories, maga-
zine articles, books or monographs
on the subject, no one has ever
claimed that tenants burned down
the Bronx. Such statements detract
from the horror and depravity of men
like Joe Bald, Henry Katkin, Henry
Roth and Bruce Elliot, who were
convicted of burning down count-
less buildings and destroying liveli-
hoods and whole neighborhoods for
insurance monies and Section 8
development options.
City Limits should definitely
correct the mistaken impression it
has given in an otherwise excellent
Harriet Cohen
City Limits replies: Many thanks
for clearing that point up. We never
intended to infer that tenant actions
paralleled landlord arson.
West Bank
To the Editor:
I was responsible for drafting the
Colgate redevelopment plan (City
Limits, May 1989). In accordance
with Mayor Cucci's policy of afford-
able housing, inclusionary zoning
became a component of all new
development plans in addition to
off-site creation of affordable hous-
ing-with only 10 percent required
on-site as compared to New York's
20 percent.
Not surprisingly, Colgate was
unhappy with the prospect of a
mixed-income waterfront develop-
ment. What was surprising was that
professor Peter Marcuse was hired
to attack the proposed on-site afford-
able housing. I have known Marcuse
for many years and know of his
advocacy for inclusionary housing,
so I was dismayed to be arguing with
him over the principles of mixed-
income development. In fact,
Marcuse's report, co-authored with
former Department of Housing Pres-
ervation and Development official
Dena Spillman and Cushman Realty,
almost cost me and Jersey City
housing director Rick Cohen our
jobs when we refused to change the
requirement of on-site affordable
The Colgate plan is now approved
and the last available land on the
Jersey City waterfront is closed to
economic integration. It seems from
Marcuse's position that the politics
of inclusion are only for the New
York side of the river.
Richard Bass
Dept. of Housing and Economic
Jersey City, NJ
Peter Marcuse replies: The report
to which Bass refers was certainly
not "my report." Colgate says (care-
fully choosing its words) that it was
"prepared with assistance from" four
persons and firms, including my
name among them: I in fact never
saw it before it was released. Colgate
nowhere represents that! agreed with
its conclusions, nor should Bass make
that assumption. I was not hired to
"attack the on-site requirement" and
did not do so.
I believe the proposals for inclu-
sionary housing crafted for Jersey
City by Rick Cohen and Bass, re-
ported on in the last issue of City
Limits, are both economically fea-
sible and socially desirable. Inclu-
sionary housing belongs on both sides
of the Hudson.
Editor's note: City Limits wel-
comes letters from our readers.
But we ask that you try to keep
your letters to 300 words in length
Writing 0 Reports 0 Proposals 0 Newsletters 0 Manuals 0 Program
Description and Justification 0 Procedures 0 Training Materials
Research and Evaluation 0 Needs Assessment 0 Project Monitoring and
Documentation 0 Census/Demographics 0 Project and Performance
Planning and Development 0 Projects and Organizations 0 Budgets
o Management 0 Procedures and Systems
Call or write Sue Fox
NEW YORK, N.Y. 10025
(212) 222-9946
TENANT ORGANIZER. For Housing Conservation Coordinators.
Work with low inc tenants in city-owned, tenant mgd bldgs. Must
have exp in organizing tenant grps & working with housing issues.
Spanish a +. Salary: approx $20,000 + health benefits. TENANT
MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR. Coord a six person compo-
nent. Must have exp with organizing tenant grps & dealing with city
agencies to resolve housing problems. Charge of 35 TIL bldgs in
Clinton. Spanish a +. Salary: approx $22,000 + health benefits.
Resumes. Housing Conservation Coordinators, 777 10th Ave,
NYC 10019.
our permanent housing program. One will assistfamilies in Queens
by supporting their placement with faith community-based volun-
teers & other services. College & exp reqd. Salary: $20,000.
Second coord will arrange job training, placement & related
services citywide. Masters & exp reqd. Salary: mid 20s. Resumes:
Mary Winkler, Partnership for the Homeless, 6 E 30th St, NYC
SOCIAL WORKER. For progressive community-based nonprofit.
Visit shelters & transitional facilities to interview families, coord
placement in neighborhood apts & support after placement. MSW
or equiv expo Salary: mid to high 20s, + benefits. TENANT RELA
TIONS SPECIALIST. Work with exp housing mgt staff to develop
tenant run co-ops, coord maintenance & rehab, assist tenant
assocs in financial planning, & research new bldgs for intake.
Salary: commensurate with exp, good benefits. Resumes: Depart-
ment of Outreach & Support Services, POB 369, Brooklyn, NY
11222 or John Mensing, 718-388-4696.
June/July 1989 CITY LIMITS 27
ORGANIZER. Housing Justice Campaign sks indiv to run diverse
coalition. Develop organizing strategy, do outreach, analyze housing
policy & legis, write fact sheets, press releases, etc. Exp in
organizing, & coalition bldg at local or city level, public spking,
strong writing, knwldg of NYC housing prgs pref. Bilingual a +.
Salary: mid to high 20s, depend on exp, + benefits. Resume:
ANHD, 236 W 27th St, 2nd fir, NYC 10001.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. Nonprofit local develpt corp on Upper
West Side involved in commercial devlpt, business assit, employ-
ment service program & low income housing. Extensive exp in
community devlpt, nonprofit mgmt, fundraising & working with
govt agencies required. Salary: approx $35,000 with exc benefits.
Avail immed. Resume: Executive Director Search Committee,
Valley Restoration LDC, 1'20 W 105th St, NYC 10025.
HOUSING SPECIALIST. Citywide nonprofit housing organization
seeks housing specialist to assist low income tenant associations.
Experience with housing preferred. Salary: low 20s, excellent
benefits. Resumes: Fernando Alacron, UHAB, 40 Prince St, NYC
TENANT SERVICES SPECIALIST. Neighborhood-based hous-
ing co sks exp person to assist tenants in low inc bldgs. Work with
residents on entitlements, develop tenant assocs & assist with
bldg renovation coord. 1 yr exp in community or social work & BA
reqd. Bilingual helpful. Salary: commensurate with exp, good
benefits. Resume: Fordham Bedford Housing Corp, Box A, 2751
Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10468.

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