Many thanks to all who took the trip to Albany. And to all those who put it together:
McDavid, Kathleen, + Lee for scheduling meetings; Eve for managing the trip list, the 450 print outs and putting the days agenda together; Simon + Eve for assembling and editing the letters for the PR kits and renting the vans; Gordon + Eve for writing the NYCLT introduction and Loft Law “fix-it” list; Rachel for helping arrange some last-minute meetings; Eliza for the gorgeous poster design; Eve + Eliza for designing and ordering buttons and magnets with Jett’s great NYCLT logo; Eliza, Andrea + Simon for buying all the materials; Andrea, Eliza, Eve and Simon for poster production and late-night PR kit assembly — creating really sharp and well-designed presentations so the pols won’t forget about us. And McDavid, Kirsten, Simon and Eliza for baking those awesome cookies that will remind jaded legislators of who we are. + thanks to all the folks who sent letters!
We made an impression.
There were official meetings with about 17 legislators, divided in two categories. One set is firmly on our team (Dems from the Assembly + the Senate): we got strategic advice and promises of support from them. The other set is more important (Republicans): they are indifferent or opposed to the Loft Law. I am sure they are used to hearing arguments from other legislators, but sitting down with actual Loft Tenants and hearing actual real-life stories made a difference: we got some indications of qualified support, curiosity, or at least neutrality. We left the remaining press kits with other Republicans on the Senate Committee on Housing — those are the folks we really need to convince!
A good trip. We were polite, respectful, stayed on message, kept all of our appointments, and even wrangled a few extra meetings.
Vito Lopez will sponsor our “Clean Up” bill and try to get it out of committee (this is the first step to getting a bill passed). In order to do that Vito’s strategy is to hold an event with Loft Tenants, the Senate Republican sponsor of our bill and the Mayor’s office. We will need to get 400 people at this meeting, so stay tuned for an announcement of the time and place!
NYCLT is now on the radar in Albany, but we will need to do this many times (next trip in April!) to keep the Loft Law from sinking into the swamp of bills, proposals and lobbying.
We were told that the Real Estate lobby groups are all over Albany, focusing their energy on the Senate to block pro-tenants bills. We are the only ones telling the other side of the story.
Let’s keep it up!