Who does Speaker Johnson really serve?
The Will of the People and restore Democracy at City Hall
The powerful Real Estate Lobby, REBNY, and keep an Oligarchy
Dateline, NYC, July 26, 2018:
Beginning on April 10, 2018 the SBC sent two letters to Speaker Johnson respectfully requesting that he use the full power of his office to once and for all resolve fully, prior to a hearing on the bill, the legal claims made 9 years ago against the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3458244&GUID=D10860C6-E6C7-416E-8F05-563B4551EDB7&Options=ID|Text|&Search=small+business
* see letters April 10 and May 12th at bottom
Even as their crisis has worsen, these false legal claims against SBJSA have stood to deny justice and rights to our struggling small business owners. Bogus claims that have prevented good government from their oversight responsibilities of being a real voice for business owners in time of crisis and committed to finding a real solution to stop the business closings and save our mom and pop businesses and the jobs they created.
We attached details showing the abuse of power of the Speaker’s Legal Department in making this claim without ever producing a scintilla of evident to support it. As well as, showing their refusal to debate their claim in public or even commenting on the findings of a Legal Review Panel of the bill by the Bronx Borough President’s Office or give comments to the media. Even withstanding that this bogus legal roadblock was proven without any legal merit, it has stood at City Hall for 9 years to first stop a vote on the SBJSA, certain to easy pass into law, and stood , even with the majority of council members as sponsors, as the only excuse for lawmakers to deny a hearing on the SBJSA.
If good government is allowed again to work under Speaker Johnson’s leadership and small business owners again have a real voice to fight to find a real solution to give them rights needed to survive in business when their leases expire, then Speaker Johnson must direct his Legal Department to resolve all the SBJSA legal issues prior to a public hearing.
Unlike the Speaker’s predecessors Speakers Quinn and Mark-Viverito, we commend the Speaker for publicly recognizing our small businesses face a crisis to survive caused mainly by the out of control sky high rents and businesses having no rights when their leases expire. Furthermore, we welcome Johnson’s pledge to give a public hearing to the SBJSA, which is the only real solution to save our businesses and which neither Speaker would ever allow, and we appreciate the Speakers’ commitment to find a solution to stop the closings.
The motivation for our request is grounded in the Speakers recent decisions on the SBJSA. Troubling decisions looking similar to those made by both Quinn and Mark-Viverito in rigging the system for REBNY to stop the SBJSA from ever giving rights to the small business owners. The decision to select Councilmember Gjonja as the new chairman of the Small Business Committee is indefensible and atrocious and clearly the choice of REBNY. The decision by the Speaker’s staff to refuse to meet with the author of the SBJSA, advocate and voice for small businesses for over 30 years was disgraceful and disrespectful to all small business owners. The Speaker’s mimicking all of REBNY talking points ( the SBJSA is not a Silver bullet and we need to use other measures and all the tools in tool kit , ) when referring to the SBJSA shows disingenuous on his commitment to the SBJSA and his pledge to find a real solution to stop the closings.
The most disconcerting decision the Speaker seem to be wavering on is the decision to director his legal department to review the legality of the SBJSA and resolve any legal claims prior to a hearing. Until this decision, all the Speaker’s decisions concerning the SBJSA were the same as those of the past Speakers who rigged the system to stop the SBJSA.
The litmus test of the sincerity of the Speaker’s pledges to New Yorkers and who he really serves, will be the Speaker’s decision to resolve all legal claims against the SBJSA prior to a hearing in order to allow all the focus of testimony to be only upon finding the best solution to stop the closings and end the crisis. Resolving the legal issues would also prevent any special interests with political influence to highjack democracy and the SBJSA like what happened after the last hearing.
Sung Soo Kim