I went to City Hall on December 8th, 2022 to attend the committee hearing for Intro 632, codenamed “Committee for Civil and Human Rights.” The problem is, tortured language aside, it is neither civil nor human and there are no rights. As historians have noted, the “Holy Roman Empire” was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.
If this Bill passes, landlords won’t be able to do background checks of incoming tenants. Not all landlords are being punished and not all tenants are being endangered; NYCHA, public housing controlled by the Mayor of New York City, is exempt, as are two family-owner occupied residences. All other landlords are screwed, as are the other tenants. “Criminals will become the protected class” as per both critics of Intro 632, Republican Councilwomen Inna Vernikov and Joann Ariola explain.
Nothing new here. The few Republicans in office in New York City posit that law-abiding citizens and taxpayers should be protected and able to live in a way that precludes government from sicking a rapist on their heels and stealing their free market enterprise. Democrats want to abolish police, tear down jails, and interfere with the private sector. Same ole, same ole.
What is startling is the new outright admission from the Democrats that is rarely heard by the masses unable to sit in intimate settings while public servants run through the clock trying to make a case to push through a bill which will enact policy. It’s a dangerous game they play that brings up the phrase, “give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.” This is a form of Collectivism that was successfully practiced in the Stalin years of the Soviet Union to demoralize the public.
One of the most radical members of City Council, Democrat Christopher Marte, in support of Intro 632 said this, “Everyone deserves to be housed in New York City.” Let this sink in. Who is “everyone”? Terrorists from Tora Bora? Illegals from Guatemala? Cartel members from Mexico? Someone that can’t afford to pay the steep costs of living or someone that refuses to pay the steep costs of living? Who is everyone? And “deserves”, deserves what? Does everyone “deserve” to live on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan? What about Billionaire’s Row? Does everyone “deserve’ to be doctors without passing tests? What about playing for the Knicks?
Yes, supporters of Intro 632 maintain that criminals, murderers, theives, and violent criminals “deserve” to live in residential buildings with the law-abiding population but they went further. They veered into a theological insistence that living in New York City is a G-d given right. It was a sight to behold. Not least of which because many Democrats in power have done everything possible to take G-d out of the equation, removing it from school, language in bills, and downright acting inhumane towards the people they’re paid via taxes to represent. Moreover, it was also remarkable because the City Council members pushing Intro 632 came wholly unprepared to back up their arguments. It was an astounding display of uneducated hubris - they likely didn’t feel that they had to back up a G-d given right.
Next to no statistics or data were offered to satisfy basic questions. One of the few sane Democrats, Councilman Bob Holden asked the group Fair Chance for Housing, presumably at the hearing to provide information, to provide some. It was pathetic. Worse, a farce.
Holden asked, “Why would property owners [be] forced to have felons live in the same building as children?” Crickets. Holden said, “Anyone?” The response that came from Fair Chance for Housing was, “So we’re not here to speak about the Department of Education.” Holden patiently explained, “So, the answer to that would be, that the city could get more supportive housing or transitional housing, if the [felon] is having that much difficulty finding a location to live.” Holden was making too much sense and Democrat Councilman Keith Powers, who introduced Intro 632 and the others championing it weren’t going to let common sense get in the way. “Everyone deserves to live in New York City” must be the answer, so shut up with the questions. At this point, the farce became tragic.
Holden then asked this stumper, “There are carve outs [that preclude just anyone from escaping a background check from a landlord], can you give any carve outs?” The response, “Ah, yes, we see Fair Chance for Housing Legislation as an opportunity to balance some of the things you’re talking about, safety for all New Yorkers.” The people in the audience started laughing. That one party Democrat rule has made New York City residents safe and prioritizes safety is a mirthless joke. Now, the added goal on top of City Council and the Mayor defunding police and the closing of jails is to strip landlords of the rights to do background checks.
The absolute kicker, the “carve outs” Holden was referring to are, according to the Chair of the “Committee for Civil and Human Rights”, Democrat Councilwoman Nantasha Williams, rapists, stalkers, and pedophiles. Williams wanted to be clear, we need to “focus on facts”, she said. Phew. Tenants are only stuck with murderers, theives, and drug dealers. Oh, no, whoops, not so fast. Turns out, that isn’t the carve out we were told is the “narrow” exception by Fair Chance for Housing.
Andre Ward, Director of the Fortune Society said, “Our organization does not prohibit people who committed sex offenses or murder from housing. Councilwoman Vernikov, unconvinced, asked Ward, “Does the Fortune Society conduct criminal background checks?” Ward said, “No.” Vernikov pressed, “Your website says sometimes you do.” Ward responded, “yes, sometimes we do.”
The takeaway from the hearing on December 8th is this; City Council, a 51 member body with only 5 Republicans, largely supports Intro 632, criminals, and the public sector taking over the private sector. It’s so entitled to an insane woke ideology of “reimagining” New York City, it doesn't even deign to substantiate its case. No one bothered to examine the unintended consequences of lawsuits by rape victims against the landlords or also likely, lawsuits against the city, which has been put at financial risk by this idiot council, to hire lawyers, pay settlements, or trial verdicts for lawsuits against the city for allowing rapists and pedophiles free access to families in rentals. The public needs to kill this bill by calling into their City Council representative’s office and saying NO to Intro 632.