Former Speaker Quinn’s Betrayal of Democracy Insures Real Estate Lobby Control.
Betrayal triggers more than a decade of collusion and rigging at City Hall to deny economic Justice to Small Business Owners!
In Part IV* of our BID series we showed a time when progressive lawmakers lead good government in taking real action at City Hall. The Council’s Small Business Committee acknowledged that a crisis existed for our city’s small businesses caused by hyper real estate speculation creating sky high rent increases. A major survey showed that established mom and pop businesses on main streets could never pay oppressive rents and their landlord’s property taxes and still remain in business. A hearing was held on June 29, 2009 by the Small Business Committee, SBC, for the sole purpose of finding a solution to stop the closings. For this committee’s mandate of oversight of our small businesses, there was no option to do nothing and allow the closings to continue unchecked.
The committee made every effort to have the administration’s Small Business Services, SBS, and Economic Development Corporation, EDC, join them in finding a real solution to save our businesses, and fulfill their own mandated missions. But the SBS and EDC officers came into this hearing with a hidden agenda. Their goal was to keep the “status quo” by opposing any legislation that regulated our city’s commercial landlords, a goal still in effect today. Repeatedly, the committee’s chairman, David Yassky tried to persuade the SBS and EDC to join in the discussion by recommending a solution or changes to pending legislation that would satisfy their concerns. Repeatedly, both refused to even attempt to put forth a viable option or to recommend any changes or compromises to the Jobs Survival Act being considered.
Both the SBS and EDC opposed the Jobs Survival Act and wanted instead to continue to “do nothing” to stop the closing of NYC’s small businesses, and still do today. Our city’s BIDS were a “no show” at this vital hearing which would determine the future of every BID merchant. Instead, they were represented by the SBS. Like the SBS, BIDS also supported continuing the “do nothing” policy even though it was destroying main street BID merchants. To this very day, not a single BID has put forth any call for a solution to stop the closings of long established BID businesses.
*Part IV https://www.savenycjobs.com/bids-part-iv
* Part III https://www.savenycjobs.com/bids-part-iii
* Part II https://www.savenycjobs.com/stringer-last-grade-for-mayor-race
* Part I https://www.savenycjobs.com/brannan-betrayal
Both the SBS and EDC came to this hearing to be a voice for, and represent only, the real estate lobby’s interests. Their calculated effort to stop the Council’s SBC from doing their duty and finding the best solution to stop the closings of our city’s established small businesses failed. The entire committee members selected the Jobs Survival Act as the only real solution to stop the closings of NYC businesses and end their crisis. With the committee Chairman Yassky becoming a sponsor, making 32 sponsors, the Jobs Survival Act would pass unanimously in committee and easily pass the full Council vote at the next stated Council meeting. A real lifeline giving business owners rights needed to survive would soon be thrown by the City Council.
That vote was never allowed to happen!
How could a bill that was the only real solution to a growing citywide crisis, which had 32 sponsors, including every member of the Small Business Committee, and no publicly stated opposition, be stopped? In a true democracy serving the will of the people and committed to ending a crisis it could never be stopped. But in NYC where special interests’ campaign money, corrupt party bosses and ambitious career politicians rule, any progressive legislation can be stopped. A vote on the Jobs Survival Act was prevented when the real estate lobby, in collusion with then Speaker Quinn, conspired to cook up a bogus legal roadblock to stop any vote on the Jobs Survival Act.
The Speaker and lobby’s scheme to stop good government from working, and stop the Council’s own committee from performing its responsibility of oversight, will become the most anti immigrant/anti small business act in our city’s recent history. This shameful rigging will also produce the most dire consequences: to our city’s local economies, job opportunity, obstruct democracy at City Hall, increase inflation dramatically, increase property taxes and change forever the character and spirit of our NYC neighborhoods. Speaker Quinn’s stopping a vote on the Jobs Survival Act opened the pathway for a morally bankrupt fully corrupted City Council. While closing the pathway for our mostly immigrant families to achieve their American Dream. For the first time in hundreds of years, NYC will no longer be the “gateway for immigrant entrepreneurs to America.”
With the help of Speaker Quinn, the real estate lobby dogged a bullet to their stranglehold on our city’s economy. Through her collusion and anti democratic act, she threw a lifeline to big real estate and not to small business owners. The BIDS also threw a lifeline to the city’s property owners because, by statue, every Council Member was on their local BID board. The majority of Council Members were sponsors of the Jobs Survival Act and were on BID boards! Therefore, any request by BIDS to their local Council Member to call for a vote on the Jobs Survival Act to stop the closing of BID merchants would have had to be acted upon by the Council Member. NO BID in NYC called for a vote on the only bill to save their own BID merchants! NOT ONE!
With an election happening shortly in the fall of 2009 and all pending legislation expiring on Dec. 31, 2009, including the Jobs Survival Act, Speaker Quinn’s Office, with the help of the silence of all BIDS, successfully managed to stall any vote on the bill. In 2010, after the new lawmakers were sworn in, the Jobs Survival Act would be resubmitted. The city’s small business crisis still existed, the bill was still the only real solution to end the crisis, and the bill still had the majority of Council sponsors to easily pass it. Surely in a progressive Council the injustice against small business owners could not continue. Would the Council move quickly to pass this
“lifeline bill “and end the crisis?
What would change with the new Jobs Survival Act reintroduced was the new strategy of the real estate lobby to stop it. A strategy that had BIDS playing a major role to deny economic justice to all our city’s business owners. Lead by the real estate lobby: the city’s lobbies, power brokers, party bosses, and unethical career politicians conspired to never lose control of the real estate lobby’s false narrative on the true state, real problems and real needs of our small businesses. These bad actors were going to double down to never lose their grasp on our city’s economic policy, or lose the cash cow it was producing for the wealthy. An unfair economic policy that created the city’s greatest transfer of wealth from hard working entrepreneurs to real estate speculators.
In no major city’s government in America experiencing an economic crisis, would lobbies be allowed to take complete control over a city’s economic future. Or for ambitious lawmakers eagerly joining in and willingly allowing the rigging and corruption of democracy to happen.
In the face of a growing economic crisis on our main streets, to maintain control of a failed and destructive economic policy, the lobbies bought off many leading progressive lawmakers. Every ambitious politician who wanted lobby campaign funding must first pledge to abandon their progressive values and any support for the Jobs Survival Act. The lobby hand picked the future Small Business Committee chairs, members of the committee, promoted increased funding to grow the SBS, encouraged expanded existing BIDS and added new ones, supported more funding for BIDS, gained funding for real estate friendly Chambers, promoted partnership with politically controlled community groups, and under several alias at election time, gained political control of every borough president and citywide elected officials, lobbies became the number one campaign donors at every election, and influenced directly every program, initiative, or legislation dealing with the “commercial lease renewal process.” This process was the foundation of landlord’s control over our businesses in NYC. This process was also a major factor influencing the international pro real estate environment all promoted and protected by City Hall lobby cronies.
This mammoth and unprecedented lobby created network would promote only the narrative of the lobbies and use City Hall to successfully carry out the playbook of the lobbies. That playbook would have once proud progressives betray their values and the citizens who voted them into office. Lobbies using lawmaker’s offices and government agencies as shills to rig the system to carry out a charade of countless useless programs, initiatives, fake studies, sham hearings, worthless workshops and legislation created or influenced by the lobby to cover up the destruction of our small businesses and distract from real solutions to our city’s growing small business crisis.
How successful was this lobby orchestrated conspiracy to cover up the “collateral damage” of a pro real estate economic policy? In the face of a growing citywide crisis how could this lobby created network, year after year, get away with continuing to deny rights and justice to our small business owners? In NYC the longest and most successful collusion and rigging to benefit a lobby occurred in plain sight. Thanks greatly to the role BIDS played in the disgraceful charade.
Within two weeks of a certain passage of the Jobs Survival Act, accepted by the majority of Council members as the only real lifeline to save our businesses, would then take 9 years before the bill would even get another hearing! And even then, the hearing would be a total sham orchestrated by the real estate lobby to oppose the bill. PART VII Without debate, in the face of a growing crisis, the lobby’s disinformation and distraction campaign to stop legislation ( Jobs Survival Act) was a huge success for real estate interests, ambitious career politicians and grossly overpaid bureaucrats.
During the next citywide elections, not a single citywide candidate for office would even mention the Jobs Survival Act. Nor would any lawmaker in over a decade ever call for a vote on the bill, and they still will not today. Every BID willingly joined the campaign to silence the very existence of the only bill to save its BIDS merchants. BIDS were so loyal to carrying out the lobby’s playbook that we predicted it would be the BIDS that lead a strong voice of support for a new lobby created substitute bill. A substitute bill that would kill the Jobs Survival Act forever and with it any hope for a future of our city’s BID business owners.
The disingenuous statements made by lawmakers and organizations concerning the true state of our small businesses and the political theater promoting false hope and phony programs for our desperate small business owners were the sole products of powerful lobbies. Lobbies wanting to keep their powerful control over our government by using their elected cronies to hide the truth from the public. That truth being, the record closings of our long established businesses and leaving empty storefronts for years on every main street would continue in NYC as long as lobbies controlled our Democratic leadership and had undo influence in funding in our elections.
PART VI Lobby Controls City Hall for Over a Decade!
SBS and BIDS Expand while Mom and Pop merchants close in record numbers, result “empty store blight”!