Airbnb Host Creates Petition To Confront New York Lawmakers

Capital New York Hires Three Columnists As Relaunch Nears

“If we hit that goal by October 20th, I pledge to deliver the signatures to every senator myself.” As of this writing the petition has surpassed 20,000 signatures, the majority of which were gathered within the last 24 hours. Airbnb also got behind the petition on Monday by sending out an e-mail to its thousands of New York members. “The New York attorney general has subpoenaed the records of almost all of our New York hosts,” Airbnb’s global head of community Douglas Atkin wrote in the e-mail. “We are fighting the subpoena with all we’ve got, but poorly written laws make for even worse enforcement, and unless you help to stop it once and for all, the laws may never get better and New Yorkers will continue to suffer.” The debacle between New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Airbnb has been ongoing over the past year, but it got heated when Schneiderman filed a subpoena earlier this month. The subpoena requests three years’ worth of data on thousands of Airbnb New York hosts. Airbnb has said that it has 225,000 community members in New York. The Attorney General’s office is specifically looking for data on 15,000 hosts — it’s unclear if this includes almost all of Airbnb’s New York hosts. While Airbnb has said that it will cooperate with New York’s lawmakers to root out illegal hotel operators and slumlords, it also filed a motion last week stating the subpoena was “unreasonably broad” and it won’t turn over sweeping amounts of information on hosts who have done no wrong. Schneiderman’s subpoena is based on a 2011 New York state law that makes it illegal for New York residents to rent out a property for less than 29 days. The law is meant to protect renters, so that slumlords don’t force them to leave to make a quick buck on unlicensed hotels and short-term stays. After the petition popped up and Airbnb sent out its e-mail to New York members on Monday, a spokesman from Schneiderman’s office accused the service of fear mongering, according to the Wall Street Journal . Airbnb is “scaring and misleading thousands of well-intentioned New Yorkers and sending lobbyists to Albany to create legal loopholes,” spokesman Matt Mittenthal told the Journal. Airbnb and the New York Attorney General’s office did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment. This article originally appeared on CNET .

Now that Capital is close to filling up its reporter ranks on the politics and media desks, editors are lining up several weekly city columnists for the site’s early November relaunch. Capital’s first three columnists will be Jim Windolf, a Vanity Fair contributing editor who has written for several publications and started the New York Observer’s “New York World” column; Joanna Molloy, a veteran Daily News gossip writer and co-author of a new book on the subject; and Glynnis MacNicol, a writer and co-founder of TheLi.st and former media editor at Business Insider and Mediaite. The model will be more Jimmy Breslin than Joe Scarborough. While Politico columnists, like Scarborough or National Review editor Rich Lowry, comment on political and policy debates, Capital’s writers will produce reported columns that also express a point of view. They’ll draw from the city columnist tradition that extends from tabloid muckraking, a la Breslin, to the New York Times’ Clyde Haberman. Capital co-editor Tom McGeveran told HuffPost the new columns will focus on “New York issues, New York personalities and New York places.” “This is a tradition in which the best columns always entertain,” McGeveran said. “Sometimes they even change the minds of the city’s big decision makers; better yet is when a columnist changes their plans.” The new columnists are not joining full-time, but will write weekly for the site. However, Capital has been filling up the newsroom with full-time reporters and editors since Politico purchased the three-year-old site in September. On the politics front, Capital’s hired Daily News veteran Joanne Wasserman , the Albany Times Union’s Jimmy Vielkind , the New York Post’s Sally Goldenberg . Capital media reporter Joe Pompeo will now be joined on the desk by several additional reporters, including TV Newser’s Alex Weprin, Women’s Wear Daily’s Matthew Lynch, former Newsday and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Nicole Levy, and World Policy Journal’s Johana Bhuiyan. In addition, Peter Sterne will cover media part-time for the site while finishing at Columbia University. Follow Michael Calderone on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mlcalderone FOLLOW MEDIA

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