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The Commercial Rent Stabilization Act shattered the integrity of the City Council.

The integrity needs to be restored by real progressive Council Members making the right choice for their merchants.


This lobby inspired bill is the most anti-immigrant, anti-jobs, anti-democracy, and anti-small business bill ever before the City Council. This status quo bill would not exist in any other democracy that practiced good government.

For over a decade small business owners have desperately needed real lifeline legislation to give them a fighting chance to survive or make a reasonable profit when their leases expired.  Hopefully, in the near future, in the City Council, the long overdue legislation establishing fair regulations of the commercial lease renewal process will be honestly debated and voted on. If passed, this legislation will be vital to the stability and prosperity of every business owner in NYC when their commercial lease expires. This legislation will also determine if the American Dream can be restored for all our city’s business owners.

Regardless of all the useless initiatives touted by the Small Business Services, SBS, as claiming to help small business owners, the landlord controlled lease renewal process will continue to be the root cause of good businesses closing until the City Council decides to “do the right thing.” And that is: the democratic thing, the decent thing, and the smart economic thing, and to give business owners honest hearings in the Council.  Honest hearings for a change, not influenced or impeded by special interests, like the real estate lobby, REBNY. Honest hearings with the sole priority of having the goal to find a real solution to stop the closings of long established businesses that are willing and able to pay reasonable rents when given reasonable lease terms.

The outcome of the wrecked rental market was when the commercial lease renewal process became only an illusion of fairness. Landlords took full advantage of this hyper real estate speculation, rental bidding war, and holding all the rights of the commercial lease renewal process.  Having total control when commercial leases expired, landlords stopped negotiating in good faith and instead, began demanding only sky high rent increases and oppressive lease terms.

The outcome of this new commercial lease renewal relationship between the landlords and tenants was: record forced closings of long established businesses, shorter length of leases (even cruel month to month and one/two year became common), increased targeting of immigrant owners to extort “cash” in order to remain in business, forcing the tenants to pay their landlord’s growing property tax increases, record court warrants to evict commercial tenants, and warehousing empty storefronts (sometimes for years) on once vibrant shopping main streets.

These lobby shills: property owner controlled BIDS, developer friendly Chambers, lobby loyalist politician’s funded community organizations, and the SBS and EDC, have conspired for over a decade to conceal the existence of legislation, a real lifeline, Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act, that would give business owners the rights they need to have a fighting chance to survive when their leases expire.

Will the true progressive Council Members restore democracy in the Council? Will they take back their responsibility for deciding the best legislation for the futures of their small business owners and their worker?  These are the three choices they must carefully scrutinize and decide which one would be the best for their merchants and workers to restore their American Dream.

Choice one:

Continue to do nothing about the unfair and destructive commercial lease renewal process. After giving the real estate lobby and their shills the full voice in government to tout only the lobby’s false narrative over the city’s small business policy, CMS for over a decade have remained silent and done absolutely nothing to seriously address the destruction of our city’s small business owners caused by the unfair commercial lease renewal process. Destruction in plain sight! Every business owner is in fear when their lease expires and they have no rights. They fear that their landlords will refuse to negotiate fair lease terms that would allow them to make a reasonable profit and remain in business. 

For the past decade, the outcome for the merchants when there is no voice in the Council demanding justice for the merchants while their own CMS remain silent on their dire plight faced every time their leases expire, is record closings of successfully established businesses and the loss of good paying jobs. Also, the outcome of ignoring a growing crisis by doing nothing but actively giving insincere rhetoric and credibility to the SBS’s countless worthless initiatives, like counting empty storefronts results in that the unresolved crisis grows out of control and gives us our city’s “empty store blight.”  Shamefully yes, our empty store blight was the result of progressive Council Members refusing to be a strong voice for their merchants and doing nothing for over a decade to resolve the city’s small business crisis. And the ONLY real solution was sitting there waiting to be passed with a majority of CMS sponsors for over a decade; the JOBS SURVIVAL ACT!

CMS proudly sponsoring legislation, like the Jobs Survival Act but then never calling for an honest hearing is doing nothing. CMS sponsoring the Jobs Survival Act but remaining silent as the real estate lobby orchestrated a sham hearing on the bill promoting only the lobby’s false narrative with the goal to stop any vote on the Jobs Survival Act, is doing nothing. CMS who for three years, even during the destructive covid crisis, never called for a vote on the only real lifeline legislation, Jobs Survival Act, with its 28 sponsors, is doing nothing. CMS who sponsored the lobby’s status quo Commercial Rent Stabilization bill, CRS, but never called for a hearing to compare it with the Jobs Survival Act to determine which one would be the best legislation to stop the closings, is doing nothing. CMS keeping their merchants and public in the dark of the existence of the Jobs Survival Act and the basic rights it would give their merchants, is doing nothing. CMS who have purposely hid from their merchants and citizens the true intent of the unfair lobby’s status quo CRS bill that gives the merchants no right to renew the lease, is doing nothing. Unconscionable, that those CMS would sponsor two bills at the same time, the Jobs Survival Act and CRS bill, that had the exact opposite intent and outcomes for their merchants, is corruption of the Council by a lobby.

When good government still worked in the Council, then Small Business Committee Chairman David Yassky held an honest hearing. One not controlled by special interests, like REBNY. He opened that hearing by saying, “there is no option to do nothing…or our mom and pop businesses will disappear.” His prediction was correct. And when his entire committee members became sponsors (32 total) and selected the Jobs Survival Act as the only real solution to stop the closings, they were also correct. Reprehensible, that in the face of a growing severe small business crisis the true progressive CMS should never have allowed the option to be “too remain silent, complicit to the lobby’s collision and “do nothing.” For any true progressive who has empathy for the dire plight of their merchants, doing nothing is not an option.

Choice two:

The real estate lobby’s Trojan Horse, Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS.

The City Council’s BIG LIE!

The CRS bill is a status quo bill with the intent to continue having the landlords in full control of the grossly unfair one-sided destructive commercial lease renewal process. Under the CRS bill the business owner has no right to renew their lease! Also, no real rights in the negotiation of the new terms. There is no arbitration process to encourage good faith negotiations and keeping everyone honest. The CRS bill is a scam bill that was cleverly contrived to disguise its false claim that it addressed the high rent increases.  In reality, under the CRS bill the annual rate of rent increases would only go up and never down from the decades of insane greed and speculation levels. Unreasonable levels that had resulted in record forced closings of tens of thousands of good businesses and leading to our city’s “empty store blight.”

The fact that the CRS bill gives no right to renew the lease to the business owner and no real rights should have killed the bill by any true progressive Council Members. Also, the fact that 100% of the city’s small business owners, workers and loyal customers would reject the CRS bill if ever given the full truth of its real intent.

The true small business advocates called the CRS bill, THE COUNCIL’S BIG LIE, that it would save our small businesses.  The truth of the CRS bill was that without the business owners having the right to renew their leases, the CRS bill would not save one business unless the landlord wanted to keep that business open. The truth was the rents did not matter when the tenants have no rights of any kind in the commercial lease renewal process. The truth is the control of the rent increases was 20 years too late! The CRS actually rewards and protects only the landlords!

The truth is the CRS bill would put in grave jeopardy the future of every business owner when their leases expired. The CRS bill is the most anti-small business, anti-jobs* and anti-immigrant family bill* ever introduced in the City Council. An easy call to reject it for any true progressive Council Member. A straightforward call for those CMS who were truly obligated to their progressive values, their merchants and to their constituents. Not an easy choice for those CMS whose candidacy was funded by special interests or were handpicked by the party bosses. Fair play is difficult at City Hall where power-brokers, party machines, PR firms, consultants and lobby firms rule at election time with their campaign funds and control of the city’s economic policy with their appointment power.


Third Choice:

The merchant’s choice: Small Business Jobs Survival Act.

Another choice for Council Members is to reintroduce the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act. The Jobs Survival Act was written by true small business advocates over 36 years ago and amended seven times over the decades. It’s intent never changed: to create a fair environment for both parties in the commercial lease renewal process that allowed negotiations in good faith to arrive at fair lease terms and with a binding arbitration process to assure honest rents if mutual agreement cannot be reached. 

To achieve this fairness the business owners in good "standing" had the right to renew 10 year leases, equal rights to negotiate fair lease terms that would allow them to make a reasonable profit and an arbitration process to assure a fair rent for all parties. The bill had no real rational justification ever given against it. The ridiculous claims that arbitration was a burden on the merchants was never a rational argument against the bill. Especially in NYC with high priced attorneys and the black hole of the endless pro landlord courts were a much higher burden by far.

Nor did any opponents ever present a better solution to stop the closings and end the city’s small business crisis. The absurd list of lobby inspired substitute legislation for the Jobs Survival Act, like giving fines to landlords for warehousing empty stores, were nothing but distractions away from the real root cause of businesses being forced to close. 

The choice for legislation to save the small businesses when their leases expire is an easy choice. The question is, “are there enough true progressive Council Members with the political will, ethics, moral obligation to “do the right thing” for their merchants, and courage to stand up to the real estate lobby?

After decades of the disappearing of our local merchants on all our main streets across the five boroughs isn't it time for a real solution and providing basic rights and fairness for our NYC businesses? Did you know that we have lost over 1.3 million jobs on our main streets?

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