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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GAX in the Bronx: Landlords Must Be Held Accountable

In this latest installment of an ongoing series of commentaries on the Bronx News Network, Gary Axelbank says it's time for the borough's political leaders to take a stand against bad landlords.

Ed. note: Commentary on the Bronx News Network represents the opinion of the author/broadcaster and not necessarily that of the Bronx News Network.


  1. I fully agree with Gary. There is a need for identification and accountability of landlords who are not following through with their obligations. Part of a city official's job is to represent the people. Gary is right on point, without identification there will be no rectification. We need leaders who will put the interest of the people before anything else.

    Fernando Cabrera
    Candidate District 14

  2. so here's the question for you as a candidate... point blank:

    if a landlord or developer would make a donation to your campaign, maybe even a sizable one, and also get others to do so... donations that could give you a distinct advantage over your competition... would you still go after him and insist that he improve his properties to the point of even taking him to court, etc.?

    talk is cheap. who is ready to walk the walk?

  3. Talk indeed is cheap.

    As you may see in the Campaign Finance Board report, I have not received any donations from any developer or landlord. The donations have come from local people who are ready to stop the control landlords currently have over the present City Councilwoman. My campaign is being supported by the people for the people. So far we have raised the most matchable monies in the District 14 council race, without the help of a developer or landlord.

    If I were to received such a donation, I commit to you and the community that I would still go after "him" if he was not meeting his obligations as a landlord.

    Walking the walk,

    Fernando Cabrera

  4. Gary,
    Thank you for your commentary. I wanted to take the opportunity to list some of Senator Serrano's action items with regard to quality and affordable housing.

    • Private equity firms have descended on the Bronx, looking to exploit weak housing laws. The Senator has been a strong advocate at 1520 Sedgwick and other buildings:





    • … and last July crafted a letter to the State Comptroller urging him to divest pension funds from predatory real estate deals. The letter garnered the support of 47 city-based Assemblymembers and Senators:


    • The State Senator has pledged his strong support for repeal of vacancy decontrol. More than 50,000 units have been decontrolled in this past three years, an increasing number of them in the Bronx:


    • Any discussion of housing must also include consideration for what happens to residents when they lose housing. Here’s a letter we wrote to the State based on what we learned from homeless advocates and service providers in our district:


    • Moreover: we continue to fight for more funding for NYCHA; we strongly encourage constituents to share 311 complaints so that we may follow up with the appropriate agency; and we make affordable, safe and quality housing our number one priority during advocacy on proposed re-zonings throughout the district.

    Brian Levinson
    Chief of Staff
    NYS Senator José M. Serrano

  5. it's great that the senator appears to have been a strong advocate for justice in housing.

    would that some of his colleagues be as courageous and dedicated to the issue, especially those in the city council. in fact, the council majority leader and head of the bronx delegation were sponsors of a landlord-friendly bill that had to be ripped from their hands before they introduced it. this is not the sort of representation that's going help bronxites who live in substandard conditions.


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