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that rents that were $2- or $300 were becoming $4 and $600
a month, and people were going absolutely berserk as compared
with those who lived in rent controlled premises where rents
weren't going up at all, and there hadn't been increases in 20
years in some places.
Well, I quickly recognized that that was the major issue.
And so I introduced legislation in the city council to create
a new form of rent control -- not the old kind; that would not
work for these buildings that had never been under rent control,
and it would be stupid to place them under the old kind of
rent control -- but I said, “We should have a rent stabilization.
I didn't use that term, as I recall, but some limit which would
fix the rent but allow annual increases based on cost of living
and inflation, because there isn't any reason, if costs go
up, that the landlord shouldn't get that in these premises, but
would limit it. I suggested that the limitation would be 5%
a year. And I made that the issue. I stopped giving out
literature on anything else. That was the issue. I was all over
this town handing out literature. And he couldn't understand
it. “What's that got to do with running for Congress?” said he.
“Congress has nothing to do with rent control.” And I said, “I'm
a city councilman. I have an obligation here, and I must deal
with this problem.” He, after all, was a state Senator in Albany.
He had an obligation, too, and I forced him into it. But with
him, it was he who had to respond. He wasn't leading anymore. He
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