Marina Metalios is a long time UHABer who has worked in the New York housing and tenant justice movement for over 25 years. In addition to working at UHAB, she serves on the board of TenantsPAC, on the Steering Committee of the Real Rent Reform Campaign and on the Leadership Committee of NYS Tenants and Neighbors. As Marina says, “local politics is like a bowl of sesame noodles, once all the noodles are gone and its just the sauce that’s life. It’s the real good stuff. It’s so rich, so delicious.”
Marina is a tireless fighter for tenants’ rights, and we’re thrilled to have her thoughts on the recently-wrapped-up NYC primary season.
Three cheers for tenants! We just got Tish James loaded into our quivers. She won big in the Public Advocate run-off. Really – WE won big in the run off.
I’m cheering because Tish will be great for tenants. Once I heard her speak about establishing an Office of Landlord Harassment as Public Advocate, I was hooked. I loved that she so consistently opposed Atlantic Yards and is still flamed up that not one single unit of affordable housing has yet been built. I loved her campaign slogan: “legislate, litigate, agitate” when talking about her plan of action as Public Advocate. I knew she (alongside the tenants) was the reason Tivoli Towers’ 320 units stayed affordable even after they left the Mitchell Lama Program. And I know Tish herself – as a Councilwoman – has spoken door to door with tenants to tell them their rights and make sure they know getting organized and forming a tenants’ association is not grounds for eviction.
Tish is one of real estate’s favorite targets. She was called “anti-development” for clogging up the “BAM South” construction project until the public library scheduled for demolition was saved, prevailing wage was in the mix and the amount of affordable housing that would be created was upped.
Tish James was endorsed by TenantsPAC. I sat in on her interview in my role as a TenantsPAC board-member, and she was electrifying.
So three cheers for tenants. And three cheers for the union members and outer borough-ites and community activists and under-heard NYers who dared to dream of Tish James. She did win big, and so did all of us. Hip Hip Hooray!