Using Zoning Laws to Protect Affordable Housing

After five years of negotiating with Mayor Mike Bloomberg's office, the New York City Council has approved extension of a zoning-law amendment aimed at protecting affordable housing units in several districts. Affected areas include the Garment District, West Chelsea and Hudson Yards – three areas that have seen a lot of new developments and increases in property prices.

The new zoning law prevents both landlords and developers from significantly changing more than twenty percent of existing units in multi-family buildings. Renovations and updates can be made, but can't significantly alter the unit's price.

Historically, when an apartment or townhome complex is renovated, the result is increased rental or purchase prices. The ability the charge higher prices is typically the motivating factor behind renovations and upgrades. While the city council doesn't want to interfere with a property owners right to make changes (or profits), it has also seen low-income people repeatedly forced to move out of renovated properties that they can no longer afford.

The Chelsea area, in particular, has become a popular place for new developments – both residential and commercial. City Council members were concerned that landlords – in an effort to capitalize on higher-end business – would renovate existing structures to the point that they would become unaffordable for current residents.

City Council members also hope the new zoning laws will preserve some of the older architecture in the affected districts. The new law extends an existing Special District amendment that was passed in 1974. It affects all multi-family buildings of three units or more that were built in 1974 or prior.

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Messi Vs Ronaldo

It is the question in every football fan’s mind. It is one of the most mind boggling queries of all time. As a matter of fact, it is right up there with, «Is the world coming to an end in 2012?» But sadly, it is a question that sorely misses a unanimous answer. The question is «Who is a better football player, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? When the great football team giants like the Barcelona and the Real Madrid collide, the real battle takes place between its respective titans- Messi and Ronaldo. To come nearer to an accurate answer, one must take a closer look at the lives, accomplishments, statistics and setbacks of both the players.

Let us start with the Portuguese forward and the Real Madrid player- Ronaldo. He hails from a small town, south of Portugal and became an accomplished football player by the time he turned a teenager. He has previously played with the other Premier League heavy weights such as Liverpool and the Manchester United. He constantly strived and pushed himself to the limits to live up to his idols such as David Beckham and George Best. He has amassed an astounding number of titles and awards in his time, which include PFA Player of the year, World Soccer Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.

Messi, in all manner of speaking, is Ronaldo’s Argentinian counterpart. He is Barcelon’s defender and the captain of the Argentina national team. He was the winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 2009. Lional Messi’s profile is cluttered with plaudits the likes of which include, FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFA Ballon d’Or and the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. He also has an Olympic gold to show for his victory in 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2005, Messi was the top scorer of the FIFA World Youth Championship.

When compared to Ronaldo, Lionel Messi’s statistics are not even a bit further behind. They stand neck to neck when it comes to skills, goals scored, remuneration and worldwide stardom. In 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo became the world’s most expensive player when he signed with Real Madrid for a fee of Dollar 131 million. That record was beaten by Messi when he recently renewed his contract with Barcelona at Euro 27.5 million. This has caused Ronaldo a great deal of frustration who in turn has retorted with threats that he would leave Real Madrid, unless and until he is compensated handsomely.

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Ronaldo – Slave or Hero?

Apparently Ronaldo is being treated like ‘a modern day slave’ according to FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Manchester United’s refusal to allow Ronaldo to leave for Real Madrid is tantamount to slavery.

And he believes Manchester United and Real Madrid should» sit together» if Ronaldo wants a move to the Spanish club.

«If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found,» commented Blatter.

«Because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it’s no good for the player and for the club.

«I’m always in favour to protect the player and if the player wants to leave, let him leave.»

Whilst Blatter has a point in that it is pointless trying to keep a player tied to a club if he wants to leave, comparing such players to ‘modern day slaves’ is an insult to those people who really are ‘modern day slaves’. Ronaldo ,football genius he is, earns more in a week than children in Asia will earn in a lifetime, he lives in mansions, wears the best clothes, drives the best cars, holidays in the best hotels. Real ‘modern day slaves’ do not have enough to eat, live in houses without sanitation or water or electricity – in my view Blatter pampered and spoiled bureaucrat that he is should think about what he is saying and try to be a little more thoughtful in his responses.

And anyway what about loyalty- should Ronaldo not have some measure of loyalty to the club that has helped bring him universal acclaim? Is there no loyalty in football any more or merely a wish for more and more money and prizes? So will Ronaldo stop playing if he is forced to stay at Manchester United or will he display a new maturity and still play at his peak?

On the subject of slaves are not 90% of the population who work in normal jobs, who are not fortunate enough to possess genius or the adulation of millions slaves also?

What do you think?

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Premier League Review – Chelsea Stun Manchester United

Chelsea blew the Premier League title race wide open again when they came from a goal behind to beat Manchester United, with ten games of the season remaining. Chelsea still have a mathematical chance of retaining the league title themselves, although they would have to win the majority of their remaining games while relying on other results to go in their favour.

United who started the game on the back of an impressive run of form, had amazingly not beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 2002. Chelsea however who have their worst run of form for many seasons were a huge fifteen points adrift of United before the start of the game.

The Blues, who left Didier Drogba on the bench in favour of a Fernando Torres and Nicolas Anelka strike partnership, started the game brightly, but the visitors soon found their stride, with crisp passing and fluent football.

Wayne Rooney, who controversially escaped a ban following his clash with Wigan’s James McCarthy at the weekend, was jeered by the home fans every time he touched the ball. It was Rooney, however, that silenced the Chelsea fans after 29 minutes when he sent a long range shot into the Chelsea goal before celebrating in front of the Chelsea fans.

The Reds, who started with their first unchanged team for 165 games, continued to dominate play during the first half and prevented any real threat from the hosts, although a fine save from Edwin Van der Sar from a Frank Lampard free kick, six minutes before half time, should have set alarm bells ringing and reminded United of the nemesis that Chelsea have been over the last few years.

Chelsea’s hero on the night proved to be David Luiz, who’s arrival from Benfica in the January transfer window was somewhat overshadowed by the £50million signing of Fernando Torres. Luiz was impressive throughout the game and it was his unstoppable shot in the 54th minute that levelled the scores and threw the game wide open.

Both managers made positive, attacking substitutions, with Drogba replacing Anelka for the Blues and Dimitar Berbatov and Ryan Giggs coming on for United, which was a record 606th appearance for Giggs at the club where he began his professional career twenty years ago.

Neither side seemed happy with a draw and both teams went in search of a winning goal, the play and tackles were furious at times as both teams seemed to be playing for pride as much as the three points. After Chris Smalling made a clumsy challenge on Zhirkov in the 80th minute, Frank Lampard, whose impressive penalty record has wavered of late, made no mistake this time as he smashed home the spot kick to give Chelsea a 2-1 lead. Zhirkov nearly added a third goal for the Blues moments late but his shot was deflected onto the post.

To compound United’s misery Vidic was sent off during injury time for a second book able offence, which means he will miss the important trip to Liverpool and the dismissal could leave United defensively weak.

The main beneficiaries of this game would appear to be Arsenal who are now just four points behind the leaders and have a game in hand, while Chelsea have consolidated their quest for a top four Premier League finish and entry into next years Champions League.

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