Volume 80, Number 12 | August 19 - 25, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Governor O.K.’s Squadron’s bill on problem bars

By Aline Reynolds

Governor David Paterson signed a bill sponsored by state Senator Daniel Squadron into law last Sunday that will tighten the reins on nightlife operators who routinely break the law. But Paterson vetoed another of Squadron’s bills, a piece of housing legislation that would have assisted a vulnerable and needy population.

The nightlife bill will enable the State Liquor Authority to crack down harder and more effectively on bar and club owners who are frequently unable to control disorderly conduct, who violate noise laws and who repeatedly require police assistance at their premises. The law will enable the S.L.A. to pull a liquor license after a problem spot has incurred six or more noise or disorderly violations within a 60-day period.

“If the police are getting called to an establishment week after week, you know there’s a problem, and the S.L.A has to have the power to deal with it,” Squadron said in a phone interview earlier this week. “This bill will give the local police and the S.L.A. the ability to distinguish problem spots.

“I don’t know anyone who would complain that if there are six legitimate police incidents in a couple of months, that the S.L.A. should not be able to take action,” Squadron added.

Meanwhile, Paterson vetoed a Squadron bill to prohibit landlords from evaluating tenants based on their source of income.

The proposed legislation would also have assisted disabled New Yorkers and those on rental subsidies in securing suitable housing conditions.

“Unfortunately, these individuals often face the extra burden of discrimination by landlords and realtors who reject their rental applications solely because they rely on public-assistance programs,” such as Social Services Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income and Section 8 and Advantage housing vouchers, according to a statement issued by Squadron and Assemblymember Jonathan Bing’s offices.

The legislation, if passed, would have also guaranteed that federal laws that safeguard public housing are enforceable on a state level.

“It was an important bill. It’s incredibly difficult for people with disabilities and housing subsidies to find housing,” said Squadron. “People with disabilities have significantly higher rates of homelessness. What this bill would do is address a problem we see again and again, which is a landlord refusing to rent to people based on their source of income.”

When asked about the next step, Squadron said, “We look forward to trying to address the concerns raised. Unfortunately, Republicans in the state Senate didn’t support it, so we think an override is unlikely. We’re already working with advocates and with the governor to address the concerns that were raised in the bill.”

Should the legislation not gain any traction before November, the senator remarked, “The day after Election Day, I look forward to working with the next governor on the issue.”

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