Independent Survey Shows Advocates of Secrecy and Privilege are Out of Touch
For immediate release
Craig Gurian, 212-655-5790
Contrary to the sky is falling propaganda of some co-op boards and their lawyers and lobbyists, an independent survey shows that, by a margin of more than 2 to 1, owners of private Manhattan co-ops south of 96th Street would support a bill to require co-ops to give families rejected by co-op boards a written statement of the reasons for rejection. The bill, Intro 119, which is co-sponsored by almost two-thirds of the members of the City Council and supported by more than three dozen civil rights and allied organizations, would improve enforcement of the City’s law against housing discrimination. There are over 300,000 co-op units in New York City.
The highly respected public policy and opinion research firm Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI), conducted the survey of those co-op owners who were not themselves board members. SRBI’s survey found that 62.9% supported a disclosure requirement, and only 26.5% were opposed.
We wanted to go to the heart of co-op country and see what co-op owners really thought, said Craig Gurian, Executive Director of the Anti-Discrimination Center, the organization that commissioned the study. It turns out that, just like in the national corporate scandals we read about, the directors and hired guns of the co-op industry are looking only to preserve their privileged status and their ability to be unaccountable, not to fairly represent the views and interests of their shareholders.
Professor Andrew Beveridge, Chair of the Queens College Sociology Department, advised on the design on the survey. This is quite a powerful result, said Beveridge, who also teaches at CUNY’s Graduate School and University Center. Its obvious that the vast majority of coop owners would prefer a transparent admissions system when they buy or sell their coop, added Beveridge, who, since 1993, has been a consultant to the New York Times, which has published numerous news reports and maps based upon his analysis of Census data.
Darwin M. Davis, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, said: “There are many quarters in which discrimination and racism still exist. I am encouraged that the overwhelming majority of co-op owners display a willingness to shed the light of truth on discriminatory practices and I urge all City Council members to back up this willingness with a disclosure law.”
Matthew Carlin, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, said: “The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Community is one of the many groups in this City routinely illegally discriminated against by the veil of secrecy currently afforded to co-op boards in the admission processes; this loop-hole our civil rights must be remedied.”
Ken Kimerling, Legal Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said: “Discrimination and privilege thrive in an atmosphere of secrecy. Were looking forward to having a Committee hearing on this widely-supported, common sense bill as soon as possible.”
About Intro 119, the Fair and Prompt Coop Disclosure Law:
SRBI is a full-service global strategy and research organization specializing in public policy and opinion surveys, banking and finance, telecommunications, media, energy, transportation, insurance and health care. Clients include major financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, federal, state and local governments, foundations and universities.
About the Anti-Discrimination Center:
The Center is a not-for-profit organization working, collaboratively and across disciplines, toprevent and remedy discrimination and expand civil rights protections in housing, employment, education and public accommodations through advocacy, litigation, education, outreach, research, and monitoring.