MEDIA ADVISORY Contact Person– Steven Barrison
October 4, 2023 Phone cell- 917-244-4435
If enough Council Members have the political will and moral courage to stand up to the real estate lobby, they can pass real pro small business legislation to create a pathway for jobs for many tens of thousands of new immigrants.
Mayor Adams sounded the alarm for immediate action and help to address the new and growing “immigrant crisis.” He claims his call for action was greatly motivated to protect taxpayers from the expected burden on our city’s budget caused by the “immigrant crisis.” He is relying upon Albany and Washington to bail his administration’s failure to mobilize every city agency to come together to put forth a sound emergency plan, short term and long term, to seriously address this crisis. Unfortunately for New York City taxpayers and the immigrants, Mayor Adams allowed his campaign donors to stack his administration with grossly overpaid political party hacks who are unqualified and uncaring to begin addressing real problems, let alone a crisis.
An example of the political theater being acted out by Mayor Adams is his call for the new immigrants to gain work papers so that the new immigrants can “earn their own way” by getting jobs. On its face this sounds like a sincere and rational plan that would benefit society as well as the immigrants.
Why shouldn’t it succeed? Afterall, NYC is the perfect city for such a plan with the vast majority (64-68%) of small business owners being multi-generational immigrant families. Even better, with the majority of these job creators being Hispanic family owned businesses. A perfect match with the majority of new immigrants speaking the same language as the majority of the small business owners. Owners sympathetic to the dire plight of the new immigrants due to coming from their own immigrant experiences. Even the Black, Asian, and Middle East business owners who have Hispanic customers have learned Spanish or have Spanish speaking workers. In NYC, like no other city in America, every new ethnic immigrant has an established same ethnic small business community in several neighborhoods ready as a potential pathway for jobs.
With the “backbone of our economy small business owners”, and with the majority owners having immigrant backgrounds, economically NYC is the best city offering opportunities for putting new immigrants to work. But politically, NYC is the worst city in America for job creation for new immigrants. As long as ambitious Democratic leadership allows the real estate lobby and powerbrokers to control our city’s economic policy, no small business owner or job will be safe when a commercial lease expires. The anti-immigrant business owners real estate lobby will never allow business owners to have any rights to protect their life’s investment or the jobs of their workers. With so much uncertainty for business owners in the unfair one sided commercial lease renewal process, owners are much less likely to risk any new jobs program, especially ones that are promoted by the anti-small business administration.
Getting jobs for the new immigrants and ending their crisis and saving taxpayers billions would work except for the past discrimination and treatment of immigrant business owners as being only second-class expendable citizens, whose economic contributions have been marginalized by the real estate lobby controlled government. The reality for potential job creation in NYC for the new immigrants is this: our small business owners are not in the position to add immigrant jobs because for over a decade they have been denied economic justice and rights needed to survive, negotiate fair lease terms where they can make a reasonable profit, or plan for the future when their commercial leases expire. In truth, without any rights when a commercial lease expires in NYC, the future of every business owner and their workers is solely in the hands of their landlord. Two independent studies* of just immigrant businesses has shown the outcome of NYC’s grossly one sided and unfair commercial lease renewal process causing the majority of business owners to struggle just to remain open and make a profit.
First major study to expose the city’s small business crisis.
2009, a decade before the covid crisis.
53% at risk of closing due to high rents and property taxes.
72% forced to cut workers and worker’s hours
The immediate response from the then City Council to the city’s small business crisis: April 18, 2009, Forum in Upper Manhattan : Crisis on Main Street, Solutions to Save Hispanic Small Businesses.
Small Business Committee Chairperson David Yassky “ The major creators of our jobs, our small businesses are going out of business. That’s what is at stake here, if we don’t keep our small businesses we will not keep those jobs. Franklin Roosevelt, when he was President said, try something, if it does not work, try something else. But you have to try something. The one thing we cannot do in the face of this Crisis is nothing”.
His committee took immediate real action to address this recognized crisis. They unanimously sponsored the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act as the only real solution to save the city’s small businesses. There was no other option to stop the closings of small businesses than to give the business owners the right to renew long term leases and equal rights to negotiate new fair lease terms where their profits mattered. The bill, with 32 sponsors, would easily pass when voted on. Unfortunately, in a lobby influenced City Council, the real estate lobby joined in collusion with the Speaker’s office to scheme to stop any vote. That scheming and collusion with the Speaker’s Office on behalf of the real estate lobby to stop any vote on the Jobs Survival Act continued for over a decade and still exists in today’s Council.
Outcome of a lobby controlled City Hall doing nothing to address the small business crisis for over a decade
Recent 2021 survey of immigrant owners with worst results:
61% at risk of closing due to high rents and property taxes.
84% forced to cut workers and worker’s hours
41 % were extorted for cash by landlord or their agents.
82 % cannot remain in business paying both high rents and growing landlord’s property taxes.
The answers from real immigrant owners shows that the owners are not in any secure position to hire any new immigrants while struggling to stay open and keep the jobs of their present immigrant workers.
The outcome of our Mayors and Speakers abdication of economic policy to powerbrokers and lobbies has been the greatest transfer of wealth from small business owners to their landlords. NYC has the most anti small business environment of any city in America. With hyper real estate speculation happening unchecked for the past decades, while at the same time as big banks and chains insanely bidding for prime locations produced record closings of long-established successful businesses and the loss of jobs. The one sided and unfair commercial lease renewal process also resulted in shorter and shorter leases for the immigrant owners. Many landlords in order to put themselves in the best position to maximize their profits would only give mostly immigrant owners very short leases, sometimes month to month or one/two years. Without the business owners having any rights in the commercial lease renewal process many landlords passed along their own property taxes to their business tenants to pay. This failed and destructive lease renewal process resulted in the slowing down or stopping altogether of the potential growth and job creation potential of every business when their lease expired.
For over a decade in NYC the Democratic leadership of both Mayor and Speaker made a priority to promote, protect, and maximize the profits of the lobbies while ignoring the profits needed by small business owners to survive, grow and create jobs. In short our government was backing the job killers and not the job creators. So now, a decade later, they want the weakened, with many on life support, merchants to create jobs for the new immigrants, not likely thanks to the failure of the City Council to serve their progressive values and the will of the people.
The outcome of this shameful and anti-democracy policy was the most unstable small business environment in America, which made our unchecked “small business crisis” only grow worse. No business was safe in NYC when their lease expired. Even iconic neighborhood businesses with a strong loyal customer base and willing and able to pay reasonable rents were forced to close when landlords refused to negotiate fair terms that would allow the owners to make a profit.
A walk down any main street in the entire city shows the outcome of a government controlled by lobbies who would never allow the business owners to have any rights when their leases expired. Empty storefronts, sometimes for years, where once thriving businesses were. The denial of economic justice and rights for small business owners by the Mayor and City Council lead to our city’s “empty store blight”! Shamefully true that our city’s empty store blight was caused by our own government stopping a vote on the Jobs Survival Act giving rights to the owners and then colluding with lobbies to cover up the growing crisis; LONG BEFORE COVID! So now, a decade later, they want the merchants who the Council put as involuntary indentured servitude to the landlords and at risk of closing when their leases expire, to now create jobs for the new immigrants, not likely.
Only one option to gain jobs for the new immigrants!
The only way the new immigrants can gain jobs in NYC’s businesses is through major changes to economic policy and laws promoted by true progressive Council Members. Lawmakers willing to be a strong voice for business owners and stand up to the real estate lobby and have the moral courage to give the business owners the rights they deserve and the rights needed to negotiate fair lease terms that would allow the owners to make a reasonable profit, pay higher wages and increase the potential to grow and create new jobs.
This courage for change will never come from either the Mayor or Speaker.
The new “immigrant crisis” only exposes what a hypocrite Mayor Adams really is! Also, this new crisis exposed his disgraceful record of discrimination against immigrant small business owners and their workers.
He claims to want to gain support for job opportunities for the new immigrants. Yet, he refuses to admit that the only real job creators for these new immigrants are the city’s majority multi generation family owned businesses. The very same small businesses that have been denied economic justice and rights under his watch. The very same merchants that faced an unresolved crisis that he refused to ever acknowledge existed in Brooklyn.
As Brooklyn Borough President for eight years, Adams did absolutely nothing to address the decade long “small business crisis” destroying the backbone of Brooklyn’s economy. Brooklyn’s multi-generational immigrant family owned businesses are the backbone of the economy and major pathway for immigrant jobs. Yet, then Borough President Adams remained silent and complicit to the Democratic leadership’s collusion and rigging of our government by the real estate lobby to coverup our city’s small business crisis. The goal of this conspiracy was to stop the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act, from ever being voted on. The Jobs Survival Act is a pro small business owner’s bill that would give business owners the right to renew 10 year leases, and equal rights to negotiate fair lease terms that would allow a reasonable profit for the business owners, the city’s major residential job creators. Most importantly, the Jobs Survival Act was the only real lifeline to give the business owners a fighting chance to survive when their leases expired.
Even with Brooklyn’s black and women owned businesses in jeopardy of closing every time their leases expired, Adams did nothing to save even one Brooklyn immigrant owned business or job the entire time as Borough President. Even though the majority of black and women owned businesses in Brooklyn were also multi-generational immigrant families, mostly from the Caribbean region, Adams showed no respect for their futures.
The entire time in office, Borough President Adams was only serving the interests of his campaign donors, mostly from the real estate industry. As for Mayor Adams concern for protecting taxpayers, he is totally disingenuous. Every New Yorker knew their local merchant’s future was in grave jeopardy when facing exorbitant rent increases that resulted in record closing of long-established good businesses. What Adams and the Democratic leadership hid from the public was that, for over a decade in NYC a major cause of the rise in the city’s cost of living were the “rents”, both residential and commercial. Unchecked manipulated excessive rent increases were making windfall profits for a handful of landlords. Who does Mayor Adams and other lawmakers believe actually pays for these sky high rents?
Every time a lease expires in NYC, those business owners who do survive must work harder to make less profit, jobs are lost or hours cut, but always the customers end up paying higher prices due to these excessive rents. Where was Adams concern for taxpayers with sky high rents producing sky high prices year after year for the customers? He used his office in promoting, protecting, and covering up the real estate lobby’s destructive control of economic policy which resulted in record numbers of the city’s major long established revenue collectors of our city’s budget being forced to close and remain empty, collecting no revenue.
Someone should educate Adams that empty stores offer no pathway for jobs. Democratic leadership was colluding with the real estate lobby to maintain an insane economic policy in the extreme, just to satisfy the greed of the landlords. Guess who pays for the lost revenue from empty stores that had been collected by our small businesses, the taxpayers through higher property taxes.
Mayor Adams disgraceful record as Borough President in ignoring the “forgotten small business owner’s crisis” as well as covering up the dire consequences to society of the record immigrant owned businesses closing under his watch shows clearly he will not seriously address today’s “immigrant crisis.” His campaign donors did not allow him to address the “forgotten small business crisis” and will not allow him to end the “immigrant crisis,” if it means interfering in any manner with their profits or control of our city’s economic policy.
Once elected Mayor, the lobbies and powerbrokers influenced the selection of his administration which is a repeat of Mayor de Blasio. Mayor Adams allowed special interests to hand pick many of de Blasio’s anti small business team to continue to carry on serving only the real estate interests in NYC. His record of having no empathy or respect for our city’s immigrant business owners and no backbone to stand up to the real estate lobby shows he is incapable to seriously address either crisis, the ‘forgotten small business crisis” or today’s “immigrant crisis.”
Therefore, with Mayor Adams only pleading for more funds from Albany and Washington, and his economic policy being controlled by uncaring powerbrokers and lobbies he has no real plans to address long term the growing “immigrant crisis.” The only hope to find a real solution to seriously address the “immigrant crisis” long term must come from the City Council’s true progressive members!
There is only one option to gain jobs for new immigrants, that is to restore a stable small business environment in NYC by giving real rights to every owner when their commercial lease expires. The right to renew a long term 10 year lease is the most vital right needed to stop the closing of good businesses in NYC. Once a business has this right, and also given the right to negotiate fair lease terms, this will lead to securing reasonable profits which increases the potential for growth and job creation.
The city’s growing “immigrant crisis” presents the greatest opportunity for true progressive lawmakers to unite and rise to show new leadership in the Council stressing progressive values instead of protecting special interest’s profits in addressing a crisis.
The over a decade long forgotten “small business crisis” must first be resolved before today’s “immigrant crisis” can be resolved.
Would the true progressive Council Members stand on the side of the merchants for a change and do what should have been done more than a decade ago? That is to pass a law that gives the business owners the rights needed to negotiate long term leases that would allow them to make a reasonable profit? Or would they fall in line and be complicit to the collusion of the Mayor’s and Speaker’s Offices with big real estate to keep the status quo favoring only the landlords?
True Progressive Council Members must first address their own “Catch 22” !
Before the true progressives could unite to be a strong voice for the city’s desperate business owners, they first must resolve the catch 22 that the lobby loyal Council Members, Ayala and Rivera put them in. In Oct 2018, both Councilwomen were major sponsors of the Jobs Survival Act, which had 28 sponsors ready to be voted into law once a simple (2 hour) amendment was made to one paragraph of the scope of the bill. For over three years that simple amendment was purposely never made and instead the real estate lobby conspired with the Democratic leadership to create their own substitute bill ( Commercial Stabilization Act, CRS) that would not only successfully stop a vote on the Jobs Survival Act but would replace it in the new Council in 2022. All pending bills died on Dec.31, 2021 and in the new Council both CM Ayala and Rivera flipped and instead of being the new prime sponsors of the Jobs Survival Act with certain easy passage if just voted on, they became the sponsors of the lobby created “status quo” Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS. How the CRS bill was illegally and unethically created shattered the integrity of the City Council. It was blatant rigging in plain sight by corrupt lawmakers lacking any scruples.
The new Council Member sponsors of CRS were hoodwinked by not only Rivera and Ayala but by those city agencies mandated to serve the best interests of our small businesses. The new Council Members viewed the BIDS, Chambers, SBS, and other pro real estate business organizations through rose-colored glasses. No new Council Member understood that these very same organizations were only shills for the real estate lobby. Most CM’s would be shocked to learn that these pro real estate lobbyists groups played major roles at a sham Council hearing in Oct 2018 orchestrated by the real estate lobby to stop a vote on the Jobs Survival Act. Furthermore, many of these same lobby loyalists again united to support the anti-democracy bill, CRS, in 2021 to substitute for the Jobs Survival Act. These shameful organizations and agencies, claiming to speak on behalf of our city’s small business owners, in truth, speak only on behalf of the real estate lobby! Their statements made at sham hearings and in the media were only word for word the talking points of the real estate lobby and all made with the goal of stopping any legislation that would give rights to the business owners in the commercial lease renewal process. Especially the right to renew long term leases.
At City Hall, for over a decade of a lobby orchestrated charade and political theater pretending to care about the welfare of small business owners but only passing worthless legislation and programs that never addressed the real “root cause” of good businesses being forced to close. That root cause was widely known by everyone as being the unregulated commercial lease renewal process favoring only the landlords.
Fooling the new Council Members, the CRS bill is nothing but a lobby Trojan Horse to keep the destructive status quo.
The CRS bill was cleverly contrived to sound like a great bill to save our merchants. Lobby cronies schemed to fool the new Council Members by focusing only upon controlling annual rent rate increases when a lease expired. The CRS was a total fraud and would not save a single business or job unless the landlord wanted too. CRS did not give the business owners the right to renew their leases and thus made the rent increases a moot point. Also, the bill gave no rights to the business owners to negotiate fair lease terms that would keep them in business or allow a reasonable profit. It was a cleverly disguised “status quo” bill that kept all the power and control solely in the hands of the landlords. Under CRS every business owner’s future would still remain solely in their landlord’s hands when their leases expired.
What an irony for the new true progressive Council Members coming from immigrant backgrounds and representing immigrant communities. The first bill the majority of the new Council Members sponsor is the CRS bill written by the real estate lobby to keep the status quo denying economic justice to immigrant owners while destroying the American dream of immigrant owners and their workers.
The most diverse Council Members ever elected and yet the irony that these new Council Member’s first sponsorship would be the CRS bill, the most anti-immigrant, anti-jobs, anti- small business and anti-democracy bill ever introduced in the City Council. * *CRS BILL ANTI JOBS | savenycjobs
CRS BILL ANTI JOBS | savenycjobs
The real estate lobby’s shills: the BIDS, SBS and Chambers reinforced the lobby’s game plan and false narrative that the CRS bill would save small businesses. These lobby shills hid from both the Council Members and the city’s merchants the truth that Council Members had a choice between two bills, the small business advocates’ Jobs Survival Act or the real estate lobby’s CRS bill. Even though the CRS bill was introduced in Nov. 2019 and reintroduced in March 2022, it never had a real honest public hearing, even today! There could never be an honest public hearing on which bill would be the best choice for our small business owner’s future when their leases expired. Why? Because never in the Council has two bills had the exact opposite intents and likely outcomes than between the Jobs Survival Act and the CRS bill.
The Jobs Survival Act gives rights to the business owners in the commercial lease renewal process while the CRS bill gives them none and keeps all control in the hands of the landlords. Every business owner would want their Council Member to support the Jobs Survival Act and reject the CRS bill. One hundred percent, 100%, of business owners want rights because they fear the commercial lease renewal process without them. Therefore, a major part of the real estate lobby’s conspiracy with City Hall is to keep both the public and merchants in the dark about both the true purpose of CRS and the destruction it would cause and the real intent of the Jobs Survival Act, and the businesses and jobs it would save.
Any true progressive Council Member who wants to restore a stable small business community, one that would allow business owners control over their futures and be able to hire the new immigrants must withdraw their sponsorship from the lobby’s “status quo” CRS bill!
Progressive lawmakers can restore integrity to the Council while creating a pathway for thousands of good paying jobs for the new immigrants and save taxpayers billions of dollars. They can do this by resolving two crises at once.
How can the true progressive Council Members help the new immigrants gain jobs?
The truly progressive Council Members could follow the 2009 Small Business Committee’s unanimous sponsorship of the Jobs Survival Act. When good government was allowed to work at City Hall this committee did its job without being influenced by the real estate lobby or distracted by the SBS phony useless programs.
Today’s true progressive Council Members have the opportunity to resubmit and amend the Jobs Survival Act to better help immigrants keep their jobs and new immigrants gain jobs.
If the Council wants the city’s small business owners to hire many of these new immigrants, then it must first “make them an offer they cannot refuse.” Council Members can do this by amending the Jobs Survival Act to add extra years in special situations beyond the right to a 10 year lease renewal. Those business owners willing to hire, beyond their present workers, at least two new immigrants for 20 hours a week for two years at minimum wages would receive 2 added years to their already 10 year guaranteed. Business owners would welcome a new jobs program knowing that when their leases expired, they would have 12 years guaranteed plus not have to pay their landlord’s growing property taxes plus for many neighborhoods with empty stores for longer periods, their rents would be rolled back to reasonable levels. The savings for a business not having to pay their landlord’s taxes may be more than the salaries of the new immigrants.
Yes, City Hall has hidden from the city’s desperate merchants that the Jobs Survival Act can LOWER commercial rents to reasonable levels if shown to an arbitrator that rents for that neighborhood had been artificially manipulated by landlords. Manipulated to levels that had forced good established businesses willing and able to pay reasonable rent increases to close in the neighborhoods. Yes, the Jobs Survival Act would force landlords to pay their own property taxes!! The two reasons the real estate lobby has corrupted our government for over a decade by stopping a vote on the Jobs Survival Act and substituting their own CRS bill: they NEVER want rents to go down and they NEVER want their members to pay their fair share of taxes. Council Member sponsors of their CRS bill would be shocked to learn that under the CRS bill the annual rent rate increase to be determined by a Mayoral commission can NEVER GO DOWN but only up! Furthermore, the commercial market rate starting point to determine the rent increases starts from 25 years of hyper rent increases to gain only windfall profits for landlords.
No small business owner in NYC for the past decade has seen reasonable rents.
True progressive Council Members can use their progressive values, vision, social commitment, commitment to save jobs, and respect for small business owners by amending the Jobs Survival Act. Amend the only real lifeline for the merchants to not only stabilize their local merchants, save immigrant jobs, help the new immigrants gain jobs, create a pathway for the hard to employ to gain jobs, but also to help their own citizens improve their quality of life. There has never been legislation like the Jobs Survival Act that could potentially impact every New Yorker in a positive way.
A few examples of the potential opportunity for true progressive Council Members make to their constitutes though amendments to the Jobs Survival Act are for small independent drug stores, smaller neighborhood affordable supermarkets, and beauty and barber shops. The bill can be amended for small independent neighborhood drug stores in low income communities. For those merchants that choose to participate they can hire 2 new immigrants to their existing staff and give 15-20% discounts on medicines and health supplies one day a week to seniors and low income families. For this participation the owners receive a 13 year commercial lease.
Every working and low income family needs an affordable supermarket in their neighborhood. For those supermarket owners who qualify and add 10 new immigrant workers to their present staff and give a 20% food discount to seniors and low income families once a week, the owner receives a 20 year commercial lease.
Those Council Members serving districts with high rates of hard to employ citizens can amend the Jobs Survival Act to give many a pathway to a second chance job opportunity that goes beyond just a pay check. The Jobs Survival Act could be a life game changer for this population. As an example, amend the Jobs Survival Act for hard to employ job training in select small businesses within the community. For those beauty salons or barber shops who qualify and want to participate in the program they must commit to training 2 hard to employ (with pay) for two years until they can successfully gain some certification. Of course, special provisions and oversight would be given the business owners such as free weekly drug and alcohol testing though government agencies. For those who participate in training the hard to employ citizens they receive 15 year commercial leases.
The opportunities for true progressive Council Members to use the Jobs Survival Act to promote a stable and more vibrant local economy and increase the potential for job retention and job creation is unlimited. The opportunity to restore the American Dream for countless business owners and their workers is only through passing the Jobs Survival Act.
Every Council Member will face many challenges to find the best solutions to the many serious problems facing New Yorkers. While most real solutions to issues may be complicated and complex, that is not the case with finding the best solution to stop the closings of good long established small businesses. That real solution ( Jobs Survival Act) has been in the hands of the City Council for decades. If every Council Member asks only the true victims of the most destructive commercial lease renewal process of any city in America what they must have in legislation to survive, make a reasonable profit, and grow to create jobs the answer is simple, and unanimous, RIGHTS. The lobby’s CRS bill has nothing, while the Jobs Survival Act has all that are needed to restore the American Dream for all small business owners.
Mayor Adams believes the “immigrant crisis” will destroy NYC, but if true progressive Council Members do not step up to do the right thing, the real estate lobby, REBNY will destroy NYC with the passage of the CRS bill.