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When will self proclaimed Progressive Council Members tell their small business owners the truth?  That truth is they stand only with the landlords and will never throw a real lifeline to save their American Dream.

 Progressive Caucus Council Members touting their progressive credentials while sponsoring the Commercial Rent Stabilization bill give new meaning to Hypocrisy.

 The old game show “To Tell the Truth” should apply to find the true Progressive Caucus Council Members, CMs. If the question is asked “are you a sponsor of the Commercial Rent Stabilization bill”, CRS, and a Progressive Caucus member answers yes, then they are eliminated from being a true progressive.  There has never been any Council legislation that is more anti-democracy, anti- progressive, anti-small business, anti-jobs, and anti-immigrant families than the Commercial Rent Stabilization bill.  It is pure hypocrisy when some Council Members, who sponsor the lobby’s CRS bill, call out others as not being Progressive enough when some CMs refused to pledge to reduce the police department.

Many of these same self proclaimed true progressive CMs are hypocrites who are proud sponsors of the CRS bill that was written by a lobby to keep the status quo favoring only the landlords.  A lobby that corrupted our Democratic leadership to create their own bill with the sole goal to continue to deny small business owners and their workers economic justice when their leases expired.  For those skeptics who feel our description is a gross exaggeration of the CRS bill being unduly influenced by special interest and will cause more businesses to close and more jobs lost, then listen to your merchants.


Believe your own eyes, speak to your own merchants, do not believe the wealthy property owner BIDS, fat cat developer influenced Chambers, real estate lobby controlled Small Business Service or EDC, lobby campaign funded career politicians, political machine funded organizations, or the many shills of special interest, who are all pretending to speak on behalf of small business owners when they only speak for special interests and themselves.  Believe your own eyes when long established very successful businesses that have a huge loyal customer base, and willing and able to pay a reasonable rent are forced to close and the space remains empty.

Let common sense prevail when seeing year after year, prior to the virus crisis, thriving businesses that have grown and created good paying jobs, many for decades in a neighborhood, are forced to close and left empty for sometimes years. The voters need to ask these self proclaimed progressives who sponsor the CRS bill, “who benefits from closing a successful business that is employing local people and affordable for working families and seniors and then the landlord keeps empty for years?”  Why would the progressive CM want to continue this destruction of the backbone of our local economy?  Why would any true progressive think that this continued decade plus long destruction of our very best and most stable businesses who are the most successful job creators should continue unchecked, or worse be sanctioned by the Progressive Caucus?

This destruction of our very best businesses is happening before the eyes of our progressive Council Members. Yet, over and over they side with the landlords, sponsoring their CRS bill, or remain silent and complicit to the collusion and rigging by special interest to stop the merchants from ever having any rights needed to survive or make a reasonable profit.  Why would any true progressive CM sponsor the lobby’s CRS bill that will keep the status quo destroying their local businesses and jobs?

The Council’s BIG LIE: the CRS bill will save small businesses.

The progressive CRS sponsors know the truth that the CRS will not save a single business or job unless the landlord wants to keep the business open.  CRS sponsors know the truth that the CRS bill does not give the tenant the right to renew their lease and thus keeps all the power only in the hands of the landlord.  Sponsors of the CRS bill know that the over decade long insane destructive rents will only go up each year and never down  under CRS. Yet, these CM sponsors are still eagerly supporting this destructive bill.  

What would true progressive CM purposely support legislation that would make a crisis worse for their own merchants and workers? 

CRS is the most anti- small business legislation in the Council. 

In September 1964 a new coalition, Coalition for Fair Business Rents, met for the first time to create legislation to protect business owners when their leases expired.  Speculators who were buying and flipping property by projecting huge future rents for the commercial tenants were wrecking havoc upon the rental market.  For over a year this coalition met with every segment of the city’s business community, including landlords. The business advocates knew that for any legislation to succeed it must be fair to all parties and not discriminate against any commercial tenant. The legislation must give the rights needed for the owners to be able to negotiate in good faith fair lease terms that allowed a reasonable profit.  To arrive at a fair commercial lease renewal process it becomes a matter of who gets the needed rights.

The outcome of these meetings was a new bill first introduced in Albany by then Assemblyman Steven Sanders.  Very soon in June 1986 this same bill was introduced in the Council by then CM Ruth Messinger.  This bill became the original version of today’s Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act. Over the next 3 decades the bill had 8 prime sponsors and was amended seven times.  The intent of the bill never changed. Through tenant’s rights the bill gave protection to the business owners when their leases expired, rights needed to level the playing field for good faith negotiations.  Also never changing in the bill was the key factor of the bill that was needed to make it work for the tenants. That vital factor of the bill was that it must give the business owners the right to renew long term leases.  If government wanted to create a vibrant environment to restore its small businesses and create the maximum job creation potential for its small business owners there was no option but to give business owners the right to renew long term leases. 

Every business owner in NYC knows that without the right to renew their leases only their landlords have the final say on the lease terms. The final say on the future of every business owner and their employees.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the real estate lobby would collude with Democratic leadership to stop any law that would give the business owners that right to renew long term leases.

The lobby’s CRS bill’s narrative has all the focus only upon the rent and none upon what really matters, who actually controls the commercial lease renewal process. By cunningly disguising in the CRS bill who really has the rights in the lease renewal process the lobby keeps the status quo for their wealthy members, while sounding like they are doing the businesses owners a favor.  It is the Council’s BIG LIE, that putting a cap on rent increases will save the business owners.  The truth is the CRS bill will not save one business owner or one job unless the landlord wants to keep them as tenants. Another truth is the CRS bill will make more businesses vulnerable to closing because it was written to only regulate the annual percentage increase for rents starting from proven destructive levels.  Insane levels that forced good businesses to close and remain empty.  From these commercial rent bubble highs that created our city’s “empty store blight” the increase rent rates can only go up and never down under the CRS bill. There is nothing in the law to correct the decades of speculative rent increase rates many neighborhoods experienced. Nothing to lower rents back to reasonable levels.  

Why did progressive lawmakers hide the truth from their own merchants? 

 Is the public to believe their progressive Council Member was a victim of a trick bill schemed by a lobby? That they were fooled into sponsoring a bill that denied their merchants the right to renew their commercial leases.  Every true progressive Council Member would be outraged if their residential tenants were no longer entitled to renew their residential leases. Why is it acceptable to them that their commercial tenants have no right to renew their leases? Why, knowing their business owners are struggling to remain in business after the virus crisis and the decade long “forgotten crisis” do progressive CMs not want their merchants to  have the right to renew long term leases?   

These progressive CM sponsors of the lobby’s CRS bill cannot play “willful ignorance” that they had no idea the CRS would keep the status quo favoring only the landlords. Every CM was repeatedly sent details exposing this shameful and destructive CRS bill that they put their names on and proudly promoted.  Details of who wrote this bill and the disinformation narrative trick used to falsely promote it as legislation to save their business owners when their leases expired. Are these progressive sponsors now going to claim they had no idea the bill they sponsored would only increase rents up starting from destructive high levels, up forever until every business owner was forced to close?

Who do these progressive sponsors believe they are fooling? They rushed to sponsor this lobby’s bill in March 2022. Claiming it was the lifeline to save their businesses. Yet, one year later not one small business owner has ever heard of the CRS bill. Not one hearing was ever held on the CRS bill!  Why the secrecy on the CRS bill?  Why? Because the progressive sponsors never wanted their merchants and workers to know the full truth of the CRS bill and the destruction it will cause to their local economy and jobs.

That truth is the CRS bill does not give the right to renew commercial leases to the business owners.  That truth is that without that right to renew for tenants, the CRS bill would allow the continued illegal extortion of mainly immigrant owners to continue unabated.  That truth is under the CRS bill the landlord could demand the tenant to continue to pay the landlord’s property taxes. That truth is any landlord can send a 30 day notice to vacate the premise to any business owner after their lease expired. That truth is under the CRS bill the decade long small business crisis would grow worse with more and more businesses closing and more jobs lost.

By law, every CM is on the board of their local BID. Not only on the board but having added influence by their authority in the Council over a BIDS’ budget.  Yet, when the BIDS united to oppose the Jobs Survival Act, or any law giving business owners rights in the commercial lease renewal process, no progressive CM objected. 

Progressive sponsors of the CRS bill will eagerly give credibility to every worthless SBS study or useless BID initiative while remaining silent to the independent study of immigrant owners*. 

*  2021 Immigrant Business Survey | savenycjobs


 This survey exposed the true dire state of our immigrant owned small businesses. The truth those Council Members who represent immigrant communities do not want the voters to know.

    18. Can you survive in business without government intervention to give you rights when your lease expires? 

           Yes   _17%__  No_83% 

    19.  Have you heard of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act giving owners 10 year leases and no property   taxes?   Yes __6%____  No___94%___


     20.  If our government passed the Jobs Survival Act would this motivate you to remain in business and look to a  righter future in business?  Yes_87% No_13%____


  21. Can you remain in business by continuing to pay your rent and landlord’s property taxes?  Yes _18%____  No__82%_____

 No Council Member who sponsors the lobby’s CRS bill and promotes the Council’s BIG LIE, can in good conscience call themselves true progressives and therefore should not be on the Progressive Caucus.  That is, if they practice what they preach. 

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