ALBANY - Angry tenant activists and other liberals are threatening to find a primary challenge to Gov. Cuomo in 2018 if he doesn't deliver on his promises to strengthen the expiring rent regulation law.
"We basically have had it with Andrew Cuomo, with his total phony double talking, who clearly is siding with the landlords despite his rhetoric," said longtime activist Michael McKee, treasure of Tenants PAC. "We are looking for a Democratic candidate to challenge him if he runs for a third term.
Katie Goldstein, director of Tenants & Neighbors, also spoke of a potential primary for Cuomo unless he can "strengthen the rent laws in a meaningful way."
"New York tenants are the ones who got him elected," Goldstein said, noting his strong showing in the city.
The tenant advocates are incensed at what they say is Cuomo's quick retreat from his June 6 guest column in the Daily News in which he called for a strengthening of the rent laws.
Among the changes he said he is pushing is ending vacancy decontrol, which lets apartments out of rent regulation when the rent goes over $2,500 and a tenant moves out, and scrapping the 20% rent hike landlords are allowed to make every time a tenant leaves.
Cuomo has since said he expects the current law might simply be extended and is trying to tie the issue to passage of an education investment tax credit designed to mainly benefit parochial and private schools and their donors.
Were tenant advocates and liberals unaware that Cuomo's M.O. is betrayal, that he takes a lot of money from the landlords, that he was likely to make it look like he was going to "reform" the rent regulation laws, then do as much as he could to simply leave things alone?
I dunno, I'm not that smart, but watching Cuomo the last four+ years, that's how I would've gamed this out.
And lo and behold, that's how it's playing out.
Not all that different from how he made all those promises to the Working Families Party in 2014, then ignored them (e.g., to take back the state Senate for the Dems.)
Or the way he claimed he was "friend" to Bill de Blasio, then did everything he could behind the scenes (and sometimes in front of the scenes) to screw his "friend".
This is classic Cuomo, paying lip service to progressive values while really pushing to pay back his wealthy donors.