NYS Assembly faces paper plane assault from Good Cause eviction activists
By Zach Williams,2023-06-01
ALBANY – Bombs away!
Assembly members came under fire on Wednesday from tenant activists throwing roughly two dozen paper airplanes from the chamber’s front balcony.
“It began before we even gaveled into session,” Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo (R-Bayport) told The Post.
“What appeared to be a group of visitors observing from the gallery was actually a group of activists preparing for the air raid.”
The pointed bombardment is the latest twist in the push for “Good Cause” eviction protections as supporters urge Albany Democrats to back the measure over the opposition of landlords.
Activists have until June 8 to get the state Senate and Assembly to approve the idea before legislators leave Albany for the year.
“Do your jobs. Inaction is not an option. Pass Good Cause now,” a woman shouted from the balcony before plugging another bill to expand housing vouchers , according to a video shared with The Post.
A dozen activists then unleashed wave after wave of paper airplanes upon the lower chamber before state troopers arrived at the scene to remove the protesters.
“A barrage of paper airplanes rained down on the chambers this morning. No injuries reported. One aircraft remains lodged in the balcony railing base,” Assemblyman Joe Angelino (R-Binghamton) tweeted .
A state police spokesperson did not provide immediate comment about whether any arrests were made.
The tactic follows other moves by Good Cause supporters in recent months, including rallies, press conferences, opinion pieces in local media as well as a bogus letter from “100 landlords” who supposedly supported the idea.
Good Cause would ban evictions absent misbehavior like “maliciously” damaging property or failing to pay rent while limiting rent increases to 3% each year or “one and one-half the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index” whichever is higher, according to the legislative language.
The Housing Justice for All coalition did not explicitly approve the questionable use of paper airplanes, according to campaign coordinator Cea Weaver.
“We don’t try to define how people do their advocacy,” she said.
At least one of the sorties reportedly came close to the seat of Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) — a no-nonsense legislator bill supporters might want to think twice about endangering with paper cuts.
The battlefield then shifted into cyberspace.
“Nothing says ‘pass my bill’ like a paper airplane mission,” Assemblyman Matt Slater (R-Yorktown) quipped via Twitter.
But activist Jawanza James Williams stuck up for Good Cause compatriots as they fought in the metaphorical trenches.
“There are always a seemingly few representing thousands who have the courage and moral conviction to demand what’s right,” he tweeted.
“I love to see it.”
Republicans expressed no admiration for the action though Gandolfo expressed sympathy to at least one unknown person from his seat in the chamber.
“My thoughts are with that one guy who tried very hard, but just could not get his plane to fly forward,” he tweeted.