By Tim Gorta
UPPER MANHATTAN - Dozens of people gathered in Upper Manhattan Saturday to show their support for renewing and strengthening expiring rent-stabilization laws.
"The rent-regulation laws are about to expire on June 15 and there's no real push to renew them" said George Fernandez, the President of the Inwood Advocates Coalition for Tenants' Rights. "One million rent-stabilized apartments could be in jeopardy."
The march kicked off at 155th Street and Broadway, in Washington Heights and stretched to Dyckman Street in Inwood, neighborhoods that are especially affected by rent regulations.
"Governor Cuomo hasn't lifted a finger" to act on this issue, said Jeanie Dubnau of the Riverside Edgecombe Neighbors Association.
Some local politicians were on hand to join the march and lend their support for the cause.
"We're fighting in order to renew and strengthen rent-stabilization laws," said local City Council member Robert Jackson. "I am here because I am an elected official and a rent-stabilized tenant. I have a vested interest."
State Senator Adriano Espaillat agreed.
"We have to strengthen tenant protection to keep families in their apartments," he said.
And City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez said: "Rent regulation is the only guarantee we have to protect tenants' rights. Without it, working class and middle class people will not be able to pay the rent."
Joe Smith, 64, was adamant about keeping rents under control.
"It's important [to have the march] so people can have stabilized rents without having their rent jacked up every two years," the Washington Heights retiree said. "The cost of living goes up but nobody's wages go up."