Councilman Fernando Cabrera Circa 2014
This was the official website for Councilman Fernando Cabrera representing the Bronx District 14.
Content is from the site's 2010-2014 archived pages
The current website for Councilman Fernando Cabrera is at https://cmfernandocabrera.wordpress.com/. Go there for the most up-to-date news and information.
About Councilman Fernando Cabrera
NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera has served as the NYC Council Member representing the 14th district in the Bronx since January 2010. His leadership positions in the NYC Council include: Co-Chair of the NYC Council Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Co-Chair of the Gun Violence Task Force and Chair of the Technology Committee. Councilman Cabrera had been a staunch advocate for tenants, youth and seniors. Councilman Cabrera also serves as the senior pastor of New Life Outreach International in the Kingsbridge area of the Bronx. He is the former program director for the Mental Health and Counseling program at Mercy College, where also taught for 12 years. Councilman Fernando Cabrera earned his B.A. in Religion from Southern California College, M.A. in Counseling from Liberty University and Doctorate in Counseling from Argosy University. He is married to Elvia Cabrera, he is proud of father of two children and two grandchildren.
Role of Council Member
The New York City Council is the law-making body of the City of New York. It is comprised of 51 members from 51 different Council Districts throughout the five boroughs. The Council monitors the operation and performance of city agencies, makes land use decisions and has sole responsibility for approving the city’s budget. It also legislates on a wide range of other subjects. The Council is an equal partner with the Mayor in the governing of New York City. Your Council Member represents the councilmatic district you live in and makes crucial decisions on Budget, Land Use, Legislation.
Through the budget, the Council establishes priorities, allocates resources and sets the policy agenda for the year. It is the single most important municipal document that affects the lives of New Yorkers. While the mayor proposes the city’s spending priorities for the upcoming year, the Council has final budget approval powers. During the budget process, the Council may change budget priorities and add special “terms and conditions” requiring city agencies to report to the Council on how specific monies are being spent throughout the year. The Council Member also allocates discretionary and capital funding to institutions within the district, including non-profit organizations and city-owned properties like school buildings.
Under the 1990 Charter revision, the Council acquired the power to review land use issues and approve zoning changes, housing and urban renewal plans, community development plans and the disposition of city-owned property. This power gives the Council the most significant voice in the growth and development of our city.
As the legislative body, the Council makes and passes the laws governing the city. The Council has passed landmark legislation on designated smoking areas in public places, campaign finance, anti-apartheid, solid-waste recycling and restrictions on assault weapons. As the legislative body, the Council makes and passes the laws governing the city. The Council has passed landmark legislation on designated smoking areas in public places, campaign finance, anti-apartheid, solid-waste recycling and restrictions on assault weapons. Legislation pending in the Council is called an Introduction, often abbreviated to “Intro” or “Int”, and is assigned a number. When an Introduction is signed by the Mayor it becomes a Local Law and is assigned a new number.
Call them Mister Chairman
Local Councilmen score committee appointments
The three councilmen representing the northwest Bronx have scored key committee chairmanships, with two of them promising not to keep the accompanying $8,000 stipend for themselves and the other still weighing his options.
A former member of the Juvenile Justice Committee, District 14 Councilman Fernando Cabrera is bringing big goals to his chairmanship of the panel.
Mr. Cabrera said his top priority is reducing youth incarceration through education, counseling and other programs that aim to reduce recidivism along with gang prevention programs.
“Young people that get incarcerated, many don’t do well when they come out,” Mr. Cabrera said. “But for those who do come out, we want good transitional programs so they can join society when they come back and be productive.”
In keeping with nationwide trends, New York City has seen a decrease in the total number of youth incarcerations in recent years. But recidivism remains high, with at least two thirds of youths rearrested within two years of their release from jail, according to data from organizations including Cut Youth Incarceration, an advocacy group.
Mr. Cabrera said he will call on his years of experience as a reverend and social worker to develop programs that “create a new subculture” for youths with a criminal record.
While critics view chairmanship stipends, also known as lulus, as a way for the City Council speaker to draw loyalty from council members, Mr. Cabrera’s appointment seemed to counter that point of view. He supported a rival to Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito in her ultimately successful bid for the speaker’s post.
Mr. Cabrera said he will donate his stipend to an as-of-yet undetermined charity, but added he feels committee chairmen do in fact perform extra work. He said as the City Council considers eliminating the lulus, if it takes away chairmen’s stipends, it should remove those of majority and minority leaders, too.
Politician Wants Washington Bridge Renamed for Former Mayor David Dinkins
Politician Wants Washington Bridge Renamed for Former Mayor David Dinkins
Bronx City Council Member Fernando Cabrera wants the Washington Bridge renamed after former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. Legislation to change the bridge name from the Washington Bridge to the David Dinkins-Washington Bridge was introduced by Cabrera at City Hall on Tuesday.
The Washington Bridge crosses the East River between the Bronx and Manhattan at 181st Street.
Dinkins, who began his public service career in 1966, was the 109th mayor of New York City. Though he served only one term from 1989-1993, he has been credited with making the city a safer place after a 30-year spiral into crime and murder. Dinkins’ Safe Streets program became a model for criminal justice and he expanded the force of the New York Police Department by about 25 percent.
At City Hall on Tuesday, Cabrera pointed to Dinkins’ revival of Times Square, the increase in city revenue through special events like Fashion Week, and improvements in housing.
“More housing was developed during his time in a single term than in two terms under Mayor Giuliani,” said Cabrera.
Dinkins, who is 86 years old, now serves a professor in public affairs at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and serves on the board of several non-profit and charitable organizations
Tiendas apuestan por abrir en Thanksgiving
Shops are committed to open on Thanksgiving
For the first time ever, Macy’s will attend this Thursday from 8 pm
Matossian JUAN / EDLP
NEW YORK – More and more stores open large stores that decide during the Thanksgiving Day-ahead to “Black Friday” sales-which means for many of their employees have to work instead of eating turkey with their families.
This coming Thursday through Macy’s department stores will open their doors for the first time in its history on that day from 8 pm Al as will Best Buy, JC Penney, Target or K-Mart, among others.
“I do not mind working that night because they pay more and need the money,” said an employee of Macy’s latin only wanted to be identified as Daniel. “Besides, I’m from Ecuador and this party does not have much meaning for me.”
In exchange for working on Thanksgiving, the employees of this department store charged as if you work overtime throughout the shift, according to media representatives.
And take the place of employment that day is voluntary, that has not stopped 90% of the regular employees of Macy’s to accept work during Thanksgiving. The remaining positions will address through volunteer networks temporary work.
Other stores will follow similar policies offering incentives to their employees without theoretically penalize them if they want to fuck the day. The Labor Department could not confirm at time of press if he had received any complaint of workers being forced to work that day.
Several potential buyers show however Yorkers reject the stores open on that day.
“It is proof that nothing is no longer respected,” said Maribel Galan, 52, who lives in Brooklyn. “Nothing is sacred if that counts is money. I will travel to Miami to see my family and the last thing I think about is shopping.”
The Mexican Hector Perez, 45, said as he advanced Christmas shopping at Macy’s to “unworthy” to open at this family festival. . “If you get to know here is do not buy things I hate most about this country: the love of money.”
Some New Yorkers do not accept this policy officials.
“I find it sad that this celebration has been reduced to a long weekend of shopping,” said Councilman Fernando Cabrera. “It is a symbol of modern oppression prevail annual company balance sheets on families to spend time together.”
Surveys show, however, that open on Thanksgiving is increasingly popular among consumers. A survey commissioned by Accenture reveals that 38% of shoppers admit they probably will take this day to do your shopping instead of waiting for the “Black Friday”.
The National Federation of Trades Department also estimates that shoppers will spend nearly 4% over the previous year.
Denuncian que parques de NYC están en el abandono
They claim that NYC parks are dropping
Park Mount Hope Garden in the Bronx, is one that, due to lack of repair is sinking
Mount Hope Garden Park in the Bronx, was allocated $ 2 million for reconstruction.
Jose Acosta / EDLP
NEW YORK – The Garden Park Mount Hope , in The Bronx , which the neighbors was great for kids, is sinking and is in such a state of disrepair that are garbage and rodents.
Worst of all is that the Department of Parks and Recreation of the City of New York , according to the area councilor Fernando Cabrera , “have the funds to fix it, but always delays the project.”
“That’s the park in worse throughout the city, and is one of five that need repair within my district (14, comprising the neighborhoods of Fordham , Kingsbridge , Morris Heights and West Bronx ), “complained Cabrera.
Laura Gómez a local resident, said she used to take her two children to play space “but is now closed and is so abandoned that only brings rats and mosquitoes.”
“The city’s abandoned and injured were children playing in it,” said Gomez.
Mount Hope Garden , located at the intersection of avenues Burnside and Creston , has been closed to the public six years and in the summer a puddle forms infected mosquito. Rebuilt six years ago, it started to sink in a few months and then discovered that underneath was a demolished house, and instead of taking the wood, covered with dirt.
“I designated for the reconstruction of the park still $ 2 million and the agency has not done anything , have not submitted plans or anything, “Cabrera said.
Councilman accused the department concerned “Failure to complete capital projects” and “not respecting the deadlines of the projects.”
Other plans include but are overdue funds are St. James Park , located in the Jerome Avenue and 191 Street , to $ 600,000 for the paving of the basketball court, soccer field repair, and installation of cameras; kindergarten of Grand Avenue and 180th Street, with $ 2 million to repair the park whose land is damaged and sunk.
Besides the Devanney Triangle , located in Creston , $ 35,000 for the installation of a security camera; and Regetta Park , located at Fordham Road , with $ 1.6 million for repairs.
“The Parks Department has about $ 7 million that have appointed to fix the parks in my district, and only promise not fulfilled, “he argued Cabrera. “These delays in repair is what you need to parks in my district among the worst in the city and that can not keep happening, “he said.
Nathan Arnosti , department spokesman defended the agency, saying that the division of capital Parks “project continues to make progress in the 14th district,” and mentioned the recent construction of recreation center Kingsbridge .
“Three capital projects – Cooney Grauer Field , University Woods , and the first phase of the trail Aqueduct Walk – are under construction, and all are scheduled for completion in 2014, “said Arnosti. “We will continue working with Councilman Cabrera to complete all projects in your district,” he added.
NYPD Crime Map Hearing Expected
NYPD Crime Map Hearing Expected
December 26, 2013 at 9:23 AM
by David Cruz
Photo courtesy of the city Dept. of Information Technology and Information.
Hearings are in the works over the NYPD Crime Map, the newly released digital map pinpointing where crime has occurred. The map was born out of a years-long investigation from the Norwood News, which inspired recently enacted legislation.
The map has received initial criticism from Councilman Fernando Cabrera, the lead sponsor of the bill, along with a police watchdog group for withholding critical information that was promised within the law, officially named Intro. 984-A. “It’s a good beginning, but there are some missing components,” said Cabrera, chair of the Technology Committee.
One of the more glaring snubs was the lack of each precinct’s sector map—specific boundaries carved out that determines where to install more officers. Disclosing sector maps became the seminal hallmark to the bill, passed by the City Council in April.
The committee plans to summon the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), the agency tasked to create and maintain the map from the time Mayor Bloomberg signed the bill into law. Hearings are expected in February instead of January to give freshly-elected councilmembers time to settle in while giving the newest council speaker (elections are the first week of January) time to choose who will chair certain committees. Should a new Technology Committee chair be chosen, that member will honor Cabrera’s request for a hearing, said Cabrera.
Cabrera ensured he will press DoITT over why a “substandard” map with plenty of design flaws was released with virtually no input from councilmembers. The maps were quietly released on Sunday, Dec. 8, though no formal news conference was arranged.
“…[T]his map helps enhance New Yorkers’ and researchers’ understanding of where felony and violent crime persists,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in a statement.
The latest tool is a departure from the NYPD’s CrimeStat sheets, which aggregates the seven major crimes that took place in a given week, month or year.
The Norwood News inspired the Crime Mapping Bill after a series of articles detailed the difficulty in obtaining sector map data from the NYPD. In one instance, information on sector maps from the 52nd Precinct–overlapping with the News’ catchment area–was only possible through a request under the Freedom of Information Act. It took a year for the request to be honored.
The crime map certainly deviates somewhat from the language of the law. The map, searchable by address, area code and precinct, offers the user an entire look of Bronx crime. Once an address is typed in, a series of blue dots, that range in number depending on the frequency of crimes committed in an area, are sprinkled about, indicating where crime has occurred.
And once a dot is clicked on, a drop-down window opens showing the number of crimes that took place. A second link dubbed “Show Details” offers the type of crime committed, yet no date, time or other particulars of a crime are referenced, offering little in the way of transparency and presenting more questions than answers, as Cabrera sees it.
“We don’t know if these crimes are committed one day after each other. Was it at the beginning of the month? We don’t have that vital information,” said Cabrera.
And while grand larcenies, rape and murder are visible on the map, serious misdemeanor and shooting incidents are absent, presenting an incomplete crime assessment.
Users will also find major gaps from the time a crime was committed to when it’s posted on the map. As of press time, the map has only logged crime that occurred on Oct. 31 or earlier, violating a portion of the law that states crimes must be posted one month after the infraction was filed.
The issue is even more problematic for Colin Drane, the founder of SpotCrime, the largest crime data collection map on the Internet, which rolls already-established crime maps from major cities into one. After reviewing the map, Drane noticed each crime was scrubbed of its incident report number, a unique reference number paired with each report. Without an incident report number, police officers would have little to go by when tracking down information on a specific incident.
“Crime map should be an afterthought to data transparency,” said Drane.
Lack of Transparency
With a skeletal crime map, its lack of transparency can only fuel critics’ perception of an NYPD that acts more as a shadow organization.
Addressing the problem poses a test for returning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who instituted a less hostile relationship with the press and community when he was top cop in the early 2000s. Bratton, due to start Jan. 1, is considered a major foil to Kelly, known for his distant relationship to the press. Whether Bratton honors the law is still unclear.
While the NYPD offered no official comment, one police source who wished to remain anonymous praised the map for offering users a better glimpse at crime, though cautioned over revealing too much to the public since initial information isn’t always correct. “There’s a fine line,” said the source. “You don’t want to put too much information because it will impede the investigation.”
It could perhaps be an explanation Cabrera will receive once hearings begin.
Councilmen focus on cameras
Councilmen focus on cameras
Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez, Fernando Cabrera and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) formally announced the installation of closed-circuit television cameras in the Marble Hill Houses on Oct. 3.
Though workers began assessing Marble Hill for camera installation in late August, the councilmen, who earmarked money for the project, the tenants’ association and NYCHA Chair John Rhea organized the event to commend the community on its advocacy for the security equipment and outline its implementation.
NYCHA anticipates completing the installation of 53 cameras in all 11 of Marble Hill’s buildings by the end of the year. The cameras will connect to a security center, where police can easily access footage if criminal activity is reported.
Mr. Rodriguez, who allocated $395,000 toward the project, urged the community to collaborate to protect the cameras from vandals and ensure that the long-awaited resource deters crime.
“I believe the first job of government is to make people feel protected and safe,” said Mr. Cabrera, who allocated $230,00 to the project. “This is a new day, it’s a new day for the neighborhood.”
Paulette Shomo, president of the New Marble Hill Tennant Association, encouraged the councilmen to try to secure more funding, saying some buildings are set to receive more cameras than others.
City Council Coalition Plans to Rein in Next Speaker’s Power
Council Speaker Christine Quinn presiding over a full meeting of the council on August 22, 2013
CITY HALL — During her eight-year reign as City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn has been accused of running the group with an iron fist — doling out cash to supporters while stripping the same from dissenters, and holding back broadly popular bills from coming up for a vote.
But in the wake of Quinn’s significant loss in the Democratic primary last week, four returning City Councilmen are reaching out to the rest of the membership in hopes of coming up with a plan that would significantly check the power of the next speaker and instill a measure of balance in the chamber.
“It makes sense to decentralize some of the responsibilities that the speaker has,” said Brooklyn City Councilman David Greenfield, who has been working on the proposed changes alongside Fernando Cabrera of the Bronx, and Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn.
“I think it’s in the speaker’s interest to spread it out a little bit and have a little help.”
The planned reforms are “not a criticism of the Speaker and her leadership,” Greenfield added, saying they were instead the result of conversations he and others had been having with members over a long period of time.
“You now have strict term limits,” he continued. “Councilmembers want to accomplish things and get things done. They want to feel like their voices are heard.”
The councilmen were loath to speak ill of Quinn, despite some of their past run-ins with her on the floor of City Hall.
Cabrera, who once battled with the Speaker to move forward legislation to allow a vote on church services in schools, said that while there might be gripes about Quinn’s tenure as speaker, “It’s more about the system.”
“Honestly if we wanted to make it about her, we would have come with this proposal that we want to put forth way before. We would have done it during election time, and we didn’t,” Cabrera said.
While all four of the councilmen say conversations with other members are just beginning, they have a set of initial ideas for checks and balances in mind.
First among them is a plan to get proposed legislation on the table for discussion with or without the speaker’s approval.
“The idea is that if you have legislation, there should be a mechanism that it can actually be written, whereby it gets introduced, and whereby it can get a hearing,” Greenfield said.
“We’re looking at making sure that bills and laws have a larger space to be discussed, no matter who put it in and no matter what it is,” said Williams.
Another idea is to bring greater equity to the distribution of funds to members. Quinn’s critics have regularly accused her of using the process of doling out member items to reward friends and supporters, while cutting back funds to her enemies, regardless of overall needs in individual members’ districts.
The City Council members who have gone public with complaints that they were penalized for criticizing Quinn’s decisions include Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., who said he saw funding for his district dry up after he spoke out against Quinn’s proposal to rename the Queensboro Bridge after former mayor Ed Koch.
For the clique of council reformers, the aim is to do more than keep the next speaker from using funding to simply punish or help other members. According to Lander, the goal is to “take the politics out of member items.”
“Those with the poorest neighborhoods are at the bottom of the capital and discretionary funding. Where’s the justification for that? There is none, whatsoever,” Cabrera said.
Additionally, members of the group hope to give committee chairs more resources and greater autonomy from the speaker’s office.
“Empowering the chairs will take the stress off of whoever the next speaker is,” Greenfield said, noting, “[W]ith a $70 billion budget, you want to delegate some of the authority.”
“There are a lot of good bills, not only that I’ve introduced but many from my colleagues who didn’t curry favor, that haven’t gotten a fair chance because [the Speaker] controls the committees,” said Queens Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who has run afoul of Quinn in the past.
A number of the members of the group were quick to point out that these ideas were not set in stone.
“This is by no means a done deal,” Williams said. “This is really a conversation starter.”
While the reforms might seem to undercut the power of future speakers, members of the group said greater transparency and increased responsibility by individual members could actually be a boon for a speaker.
“If we were to change the rules, it’s going to require a different kind of leader. A true leader is the one who shares power,” said Cabrera.
“There’s a very diverse array of councilmembers across ideological and demographic and geographic lines who are eager to see some rules reform in the council that opens up space for council members to do their jobs — to contribute to an inclusive, productive, successful council,” Lander said.
Parks Department has the green, but is slow to fix Bronx greenspaces: Councilman
Fernando Cabrera says he funded the projects, but the city is stalling. Parks Department says these things take time.
The Parks Department is failing to repair several decrepit Bronx parks — despite millions in funds allocated for that very purpose, a city Councilman charged Thursday.
Councilman Fernando Cabrera (D-University Heights) said he’s allocated nearly $6 million to the Parks Department in the last three years to spruce up green spaces in his district, which includes Fordham and the West Bronx, but hasn’t seen results.
“This is an embarrassment to our community,” Cabrera said. “If this was in Manhattan, I guarantee you it wouldn’t be in this condition for five years. Here in the Bronx, we deserve better. Here in the Bronx, we expect better.”
The most blatant example, Cabrera said, was at Mount Hope Garden in University Heights, which has been closed for five years and now resembles a junkyard. Cabrera said he earmarked $1 million for a playground update and cameras, but the Parks Department claims it found far more extensive damage, and now needs to bring in a consultant to design the restoration.
Cabrera said he’s also earmarked $2.7 million for a new garden, fence, playground and benches at the Grand Avenue Playground; $600,000 for security cameras, and repaving the basketball court and redoing the soccer field at St. James Park; and $1.6 million to create Regatta Park along the Harlem River. But none of the projects, he said, has gotten off the ground.
“All I’m getting is excuses after excuses,” Cabrera said.
A Parks Department spokesman said the borough has received nearly three quarters of a billion dollars for park improvements under Mayor Bloomberg, but the fix ups take time because of “a participatory design process (and) the city’s procurement rules.”
For example, the restoration at Grand Avenue Playground wasn’t fully funded until last year, and is now being designed, the spokesman said. And St. James Park only got its funding this year. The Parks Department held a scoping meeting Thursday to hash out plans.
The slow going frustrates residents.
“On the weekends, my daughter wants to go outside, and I can’t do that, and I have a park next door to me,” said Sandra Perez, 40, who lives next door to Mount Hope Garden. She says the fetid conditions have led to vermin and mosquitoes in the neighborhood.
Aisha Powell, 24, who lives nearby, said she remembers barbecuing at the once beautiful park.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “It’s disgusting. I remember it looking like a park.”
Park boosters said the problem is a disconnect between allocation of funds and actual repairs.
“Unfortunately, this administration is more interested in groundbreakings than seeing these project through to completion,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates.
Bronx Community Leaders seek to combat decade-long spike in family-related homicide
Family-related homicides in the Bronx rose 60% from 2002 to 2012, from 15 to 24 murders, according to a report by the NYC Domestic Violence Review Committee.
Family-related homicides in the Bronx spiked a whopping 60% over the past decade, from 15 to 24 murders, making it the most treacherous borough in the city for domestic violence.
The dramatic uptick came during a period in New York when other boroughs saw sweeping declines, including a 20% reduction in Queens, from 15 homicides to 12, according to a report by the NYC Domestic Violence Review Committee.
“It’s disturbing,” said Councilman Fernando Cabrera, who on Thursday announced that he and the Urban Justice Center will offer free legal clinics to those hurt by violence.
“This will give another entry point of accessibility for people who have experienced domestic violence in the Bronx,” said Cabrera. “We’re going to be able to serve the victims and those around them, including their children.”
The clinic will offer lessons on victim’s rights and how to file paperwork such as a financial disclosure affidavitd and child support documents, officials said.
Officials at the Urban Justice Center, a nonprofit serving New Yorkers stung by domestic violence, believe the effort will help combat the systemic problem of Domestic Violence.
“Particularly in the Bronx, people have longstanding generational issues of poverty,” said Madeline Garcia, Managing Director of the Domestic Violence Project for the Urban Justice Center. “The only way to move forward is to be able to have the resources to build your life.”
Beside Queens, domestic violence dropped 35% in Brooklyn between 2002 and 2012, from 37 homicides to 24. Manhattan and Staten Island saw marginal increases, but only account for a combined 19% of all cases, according to the report.
The clinic will operate the last Friday of each month at the Councilman’s office on 107 E. Burnside Ave. Those interested are encouraged to contact the councilman’s office to set up an appointment by calling (347) 590-2874.
City Councilman pushes for tenants’ bill of rights to be posted in every apartment building lobby
BY Daniel Beekman
DAILY NEWS WRITER
City Councilman Fernando Cabrera is preaching legislation that would force landlords to post a tenant bill of rights.Tenants could be getting what taxi riders and hospital patients already have – a bill of rights.
Wednesday, City Councilman Fernando Cabrera (D-West Bronx) will propose legislation requiring landlords to post a tenant bill of rights in the lobbies of all apartment buildings.
The short, simple list would help tenants demand repairs and fight wrongful eviction.
“So many people come to us with housing problems,” said Cabrera. “They’re anxious, angry and depressed. They don’t know what to do.”
The bill of rights would spell out 11 rights, including those related to eviction, heat and hot water, roommates and subletting – with a special section for tenants in rent-regulated apartments.
Sally Dunford, of the West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center, called the bill of rights “a great idea.” Dunford said she has seen uninformed tenants swindled and conned.
“I had a landlord charging a woman $25 a month to use her microwave,” she said. “She didn’t know any better.”
The legislation Cabrera plans to introduce would also require landlords to attach the list to new leases and renewals.
Sergio Cuevas, a tenant leader for the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, said most tenants show up to housing court clueless and scared.
“You don’t have a legal background and you’re upset,” he said.
Cabrera’s law would apply to buildings with three or more apartments.
“Most of our landlords are good, but some are doing a miserable job,” said Cabrera. “The idea is to empower tenants. Knowledge is power.”
Landlords are less than thrilled about the proposal, however. They say tenants already receive the information they need. The state requires leases to include tenant rights. Leases for rent-stabilized apartments must include an even more detailed guide.
“I think tenants and landlords know their rights already,” said Frank Ricci of the Rent Stabilization Association, a local trade group that represents thousands of landlords and building managers. “This would be a duplication of existing law. It’s not necessary.”
Posting the bill of rights would cost landlords time and money, he said, claiming most tenants don’t read the safety notices landlords already display.
But the tenants would read a bill of rights, argued Cabrera. He said leases use “legal mumbo jumbo” that few tenants understand.
Housing rights can be confusing because some are enforced by the city and some by the state, said Dunford, arguing tenants need an easy-to-follow guide. The bill of rights would include phone numbers for tenants to call.
“Most people don’t know where to look for help,” said Carmen Rodriguez, a tenant leader in Hunts Point. “This could save them a lot of time and stress.”