John Davis remembers a meeting in 1986 when Bernie Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, confronted the owners of the city’s largest affordable housing complex. The federal program that had subsidized the Northgate Apartments for 20 years had a loophole that allowed the landlords to convert the buildings into market rentals or luxury condos.
“Bernie pounded his fist on the conference table in his office and told the owners, ‘Over my dead body are you going to displace 336 working families. You are not going to convert Northgate into luxury housing,’” recalled Davis, who was Sanders’s key housing aide.
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