By Matthew Abuelo
On May 21st 2009 Westside Neighborhood Alliance and Westside SRO Law Project came together to organize the latest Illegal Hotels town hall meeting. The forum came several months after the widening Illegal Hotels campaign was sideswiped by a mid-level appellate court "the Stallman Decision" which has allowed the problem of commercial tourist rentals in residential buildings to continue as along as participating owners use their buildings "primarily" for residential purposes. This means any residential building can reserve 49% of its units for transient traffic, as long as it doesn't exceed that number, according to Shari Hyman from NYC Office of Special Enforcement. How anyone could possibly police this practice or provide enforcement is a mystery. And while Michael Bloomberg is currently modeling himself for re-election as the Republican's answer to Huey Long, this crucial housing issue is conspicuously missing from his allegedly "populist" platform.
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