To the Editor:
I recently received a letter from Liberty Board of Realtors that praises Mayor Smith and the Bayonne City Council for their efforts in amending rent control, or as Executive VP Joseph W. Hottendorf quotes, the city’s “onerous rent control system.”
Democrat leaders throughout the years have prided themselves in providing the public with low cost and fair equal housing. Rent boards in some cities were formed so that rents would be increased when the economy or upgrades and improvements dictated the owners to raise rents. Democrats have always touted their compassion for people living under rent control rules. Where was the compassion of Mayor Smith and the City Council when they did away with the city’s rent control laws that have existed for around 30 years? There were over 800 signatures on petitions and a packed City Council meeting with very vocal opponents who tried to convince the City Council to put the measure off for further inquiries. The Council did not want to hear what anyone had to say. Their minds were made up.
The Board of Realtors obviously has an interest in being able to rent or sell certain available units that may come about because of the amendment to rent control. Why didn’t the Liberty Board of Realtors urge people to call the mayor and council to complain that they made a terrible deal selling off 240 acres of land to the Port Authority of N.Y./N.J., who pays no taxes on that land?
No taxes for life! If the 240 acres of land that was sold to the Port Authority were taxable, then the City would have reaped millions of dollars in tax revenue. Instead, the city is stuck with uncompassionate choices that benefit several building owners. Some of these owners’ monetary donations can be found on several local politicians’ campaign reports.
I feel that in these bad economic times, the people of the city should decide whether rent control should stay or be abolished. In the last several weeks, there were petitions circulating to make the issue a choice to be voted on when it appears on the ballot. I urge you to let Bayonne people to decide whether or not rent control stays or goes. Let those officials also know that you are not happy that they sold 240 acres of land without receiving one dime in taxes.
GARY LA PELUSA SR.
Former Third Ward Councilman