Broadening their real estate opposition to City Hall and the Giuliani administration, the organizers at the CHARAS/El Bohio are joining an activist call for an Oct. 1 sleep-in at City Hall by the Met Council on Housing.
CHARAS/El Bohio is a community center on the Lower East Side that rented its building from the city for 20 years before the former public school building was sold out from under CHARAS at auction in 1999. The center has been at odds with the city over the sale ever since and has actively campaigned to stay put by frustrating all attempts to show or develop the building for other uses.
During this summer's Fringe Festival, CHARAS even went so far as to re open the long dormant Bimbo Rivas Theatre, which it plans to operate indefinitely.
CHARAS organizers have now joined with the Met Council on Housing to protest the fact that in October, "over 2 million rent stabilized New Yorkers will be hit with the highest rent increases since 1996, despite the fact that landlord profits are at an all-time high."
Ascribing the rent hike to the "nine wealthy men" comprising the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) CHARAS has called for the rally and sleepover at "Giulianiville," a term adopted by the group to describe City Hall. Among the group's demands are the removal of RGB chair Ed Hochman and RGB public member Ed Weinstein; City Council oversight of future RGB appointments, the diversification of the RGB; and the preservation of public housing, Mitchell-Lama, Section 8 and other support programs.
On Oct. 1, there will be a 6-9 PM rally and a 9 PM start to the sleepover and vigil. On Oct. 2, breakfast and leafletting will take place from 8-10 AM. The event will take place at City Hall's Northeast Plaza, facing the Brooklyn Bridge. For more information call the Met Council on Housing: (212) 693-0553 ext. 6 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- By Murdoch McBride