Mayor Adams’ “City of Yes” economy is nothing but continuing a thinly veiled “status quo” catastrophic failure of former Mayor de Blasio’s economy. An economy controlled by a few privileged wealthy people which discriminated against small business owners while promoting and maximizing only the profits of campaign donors, lobbies, and power brokers.
Almost immediately upon being sworn in as the new NYC Mayor, Eric Adams was holding a press conference touting his commitment to small business owners that his economic programs will restore their American Dream. His commitment to creating an equality and inclusive economy for all would grow bolder with several grand programs, executive orders, and initiatives. All claiming to speed up NYC’s post-pandemic recovery economy while laying the foundation to a prosperous future for all business owners.
Yet, his appointment of Maria Torres-Springer as Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development would likely be the death sentence to the future of most business owners in NYC. Her past record of supporting only big real estates’ agenda would make her appointment even more destructive to the city’s multi-generational immigrant small business owners. Desperate merchants in the past under her watch, while even facing a citywide growing small business crisis, were repeatedly denied economic justice and rights needed to survive or make a reasonable profit when their commercial leases expired. Her successful, but shameful record of pretending to help small business owners by promoting countless worthless initiatives while playing a key role to rig the system by purposely doing absolutely nothing to address a growing small business crisis which resulted in our city’s “empty store blight”, should disqualify her from ever holding a position of trust over the future of small business owners.
No Mayor has ever produced so many economic proposals or pledges which would impact every segment of NYC’s economy in such a short period of time as Mayor Adams has. But would any one of these address the “root cause” of long-established successful businesses being forced to close when their leases expired. Would any public pledge be made by Mayor Adams or his Deputy to change the grossly unfair and one-sided commercial lease renewal process that has been destroying, for well over a decade, the “backbone of our local economy”, our small businesses? Appallingly NO! The reason the campaign donors of Eric Adams and the powerful lobbies hand picked Torres-Springer as Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development became obvious when the first major bill introduced in the new Council (March 2022) was the Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS.
The CRS bill was inspired by the real estate lobby with the goal to keep the status quo for landlords having full control of the commercial lease renewal process. The bill gave no rights to the business owners, not even the right to renew their leases, and guaranteed the already destructive high rents would only go up, but never down, when a commercial lease expired. Under Mayor Adams and Torres-Springer’s watch, for the first time in 34 years the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act, would not be resubmitted in the Council. The Jobs Survival Act, was written by the true small business advocates and would give every business owner the right to renew a 10 year lease, equal rights with the landlord to negotiate fair lease terms that would allow the tenants to make a reasonable profit, and an arbitration process to make sure a fair rent was arrived at if mutual agreement was not achieved. In fact, under the Jobs Survival Act, if shown by credible evidence, an arbitrator could reduce the rents in certain neighborhoods that had prolonged “empty store blight.”
With all the political theater, pro real estate shill organizations like BIDS and Chambers and lobby loyal politicians giving credibility statements to countless useless programs, all created to distract from addressing the “root cause” of long established businesses closing in NYC, the outcome for the future of business owners will still be bleak under Mayor Adams administration. The government was working to assure that the future of every business owner was still only in the hands of the landlord which was the “root cause” of closings and would continue our city’s small business crisis.
Mayor Adams, Torres-Springer , and the real estate lobby do not want the Council Members to have a choice on which legislation would be best to address the “root cause” of their long established local businesses being forced to close. They do not want the Council Members to ask the central question that should be the litmus test for any legislation regulating the commercial lease renewal process. That question is, “for those long-established successful business owners who have a loyal customer base and are willing and able to pay a reasonable rent, does your legislation give them the right to remain in business and rights needed to negotiate fair lease terms to keep them in business”? If ever asked, both Mayor Adams and Deputy Torres-Springer know the answer to that question on the bill they are promoting on behalf of the real estate lobby, the CRS bill is NO!
Small business owners should not be fooled by Mayor Adams and Deputy Torres-Springer’s lobby orchestrated charade of pretending to care for your welfare and future. If they were sincere and really cared about your future, they would have never killed the Jobs Survival Act and replaced it with the lobby’s Commercial Rent Stabilization Act. That is the true litmus test of all real progressive lawmakers.
Merchants should also look closely at the Adams grand proposals and read the fine print, to discover they are only recycled de Blasio’s failed economic policy for small businesses.
Grand proposals such as: “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,”* * https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/119-22/mayor-adams-rebuild-renew-reinvent-blueprint-nyc-s-economic-recovery#/0
Mayor Adams lays out his blueprint and vision for the city’s economic recovery and the future of the city’s economy, which he touts as being built on equity and inclusivity. The blueprint with Five Pillars, With More Than 70 Concrete Initiatives. “New York City’s recovery cannot and will not be about going back to the way things were, we are going to rebuild, renew, and reinvent our city and our economy for today, tomorrow, and generations to come,” said Mayor Adams.
“City of Yes for Economic Opportunity,” * a set of sweeping citywide zoning changes that he claims will further fuel the city’s ongoing economic success and pave the way for a more inclusive future. Together, the 18 proposed changes would eliminate barriers to growth for entrepreneurs and key industries. “https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/418-23/mayor-adams-city-planning-director-garodnick-plan-support-small-business-growth-
"Small Business Forward"* Executive Order 2 to Reform Small Business Violations https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/303-22/mayor-adams-reduces-burdens-nyc-small-businesses-jumpstarts-city-s-economic-recovery-by# Executive Order 2 (EO2) “Small Business Forward”
Executive Order 2 calls upon agencies to review business regulations with the goal of reducing fine schedules and allowing for cure periods or warnings for first-time violations.
OneNYC Goal to Increase Overall Utilization Procurements from Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Executive Order 26* Download Executive Order 26
In order to achieve the goals of the City’s M/WBE program, all mayoral agencies, procure goods, services and construction for amounts not exceeding $1,000,000 from businesses certified as M/WBEs without a formal competitive process.
There shall be a Chief Business Diversity Officer who, in consultation with the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (“MOCS”) and the New York City Department of Small Business Services. https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/118-23/mayor-adams-makes-major-investments-mayor-s-office-minority-women-owned-business
NYC Mayor’s Office of Equity (MOE) was established in 2022 and serves as NYC government’s centralized equity office. Focusing on developing critical, equity-driven strategies across our diverse communities
Would Mayor Adams many grand programs and initiatives be enough to make his economic vision and pledges to business owners of restoring their American Dream successful?
When fully enacted will the Adams’ economy offer the small business owners real hope to survive, make a reasonable profit and have a real future in NYC? Sadly NO!
Mayor Adams has been totally disingenuous in his commitment to save our small businesses and build a real future in NYC for all. The economy he is hyping to New Yorkers and business owners is a continuation of the pro real estate/lobby/powerbrokers’ economy created under former Mayor de Blasio. What is the bases for that economy? Upon being elected, De Blasio abdicated the city’s economic policy to his campaign donors, lobbies, and NYC powerbrokers. The goals of Adams economy are the same as those of de Blasio’s economy.
That main goal is to keep the “status quo” by having lobbies make the economic policy that promotes and maximizes the profits of only a few wealthy. Their chief leader to carry out this favoritism of a pro real estate policy is the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). NYCEDC, is the most anti-small business, anti- community, and anti- democracy organization in NYC. While the real estate lobby is the puppet master of NYCEDC, the NYCEDC is the puppet masters of the Small Business Services, who in turn are the puppet masters of the BIDS, Chambers, and dozens of SBS funded organizations. All colluding together to rig the system to follow only the lobby’s game plan of keeping the status quo of a pro real estate friendly government. In turn, one that is destroying the “backbone of our city’s local economy,” our small businesses.
The hugely successful NYC pro real estate economy, promoted and protected at City Hall that produced windfall profits for developers and landlords but also produced a crisis to survive for many small business owners. The outcome of a friendly government promoting hyper real estate speculation and the bidding wars between big banks and national chains to be on prime locations on main streets wrecked the commercial rental markets, and it is still crushed today. Insane rent increases and oppressive lease demands have become the norm and were and are being demanded by landlords when a commercial lease expires. The unfair and one-sided commercial lease renewal process in NYC, where the business owners have no rights, not even the right to renew the lease, and the landlords had total control was the “root cause” of forcing good businesses to close in record numbers. A corrupt government controlled by the same identity who created the small business crisis had a choice to make. That choice, either pass legislation that gave small business owners the rights needed to renew long term leases, negotiate fair lease terms that allowed them to make a reasonable profit and remain in business or to keep the status quo protecting the windfall profits of the landlords.
An unresolved crisis that year after year spread across NYC and resulted in creating our city’s “empty store blight.” clearly shows the choice the de Blasio administration made, to serve big real estate. The same choice Mayor Adams has followed.
Why is the economic policy of former Mayor de Blasio and the choice he made to serve only his campaign donors relevant to the choice Mayor Adams has made in creating his economic policy and vision?
For 8 years under de Blasio, a lobby orchestrated charade took place in NYC to deny desperate small business owners a real lifeline to save their businesses and jobs when their leases expired. This successful conspiracy produced a complete coverup of the crisis as well as stopping a vote on the only true bill to give the merchants rights and a fighting chance to survive when their leases expired, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act. The growing small business crisis did not even produce one honest hearing at City Hall to find a solution to end it! Even Mayor de Blasio was forced to repeatedly lie to stop any hearings when he knowingly falsely claimed the Jobs Survival Act was unconstitutional.
What this collusion and rigging with the lobbies did produce was the only “empty store blight” of any major city in America during an economic upturn. While other major cities’ main street economies were robustly recovering from the 2008 recession, NYC’s main streets were filling up, not with shoppers but with empty stores. Empty store fronts where once thriving businesses were. Many businesses forced to close were long established businesses employing good paying jobs and planning to grow in the future. Allowing the very best successful businesses to be forced to close and remain empty was “insane economics in the extreme.”
When the “empty store blight” grew worse and forced a call for a hearing on the Jobs Survival Act, the lobby orchestrated a shameful sham hearing in the Council to stop any vote.
This hearing exposed the stranglehold of the real estate lobby over our government when every agency mandated to serve the interests of our small businesses testified opposing a vote on the Jobs Survival Act. The EDC and SBS were joined in opposing giving the desperate business owners any rights in the commercial lease renewal process by the city’s pro real estate Chambers, BIDS, lobby loyalist politicians, and government funded organizations. Yet, neither the SBS or EDC nor any others offered any real solution to stop the closings of long-established businesses. What also came out of this lobby sham hearing was the most sinister “Machiavellian” plot* to not only stop a vote on the Jobs Survival Act but to kill the bill once and for all.
Once again the real estate lobby would call upon the entire de Blasio administration as well as the City Council leadership to rig the system to deny small business owners the economic justice they deserved and needed to survive and have a future in NYC. The lobby’s conspiracy was successful in stopping a vote on the Jobs Survival Act for three years, even with its 28 Council Member sponsors!! Even during the Covid crisis there was no call for a vote on the bill that would have certainly saved many merchants, if not all the established ones. The Covid crisis only greatly sped up the closings of businesses already greatly weakened and just hanging on due to the high rents and growing landlord property taxes being paid by the tenants.
If Mayor Adams was sincere in wanting to restore the American Dream for our small businesses and build a new foundation for their future, then he would have an easy task. Just give business owners rights!
But Mayor Adams will never give owners rights when their leases expire because he has no empathy or respect for the city’s small business owners! Instead, his choice was promoting a lobby orchestrated policy that illegally and unethically created a lobby influenced bill (Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS) that would kill the Jobs Survival Act and substitute their “landlords’ bill” that would keep the status quo for the landlords. Mayor Adams betrayed the city’s small business owners by continuing a special interest’s economy.
The incontrovertible facts of Mayor Adams economic policy that expose this betrayal that would put every business owner’s future in dire jeopardy of closing when their lease expires:
Adams kept two top economic policy positions of the de Blasio administration: Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer and Andrew Kimball, President & CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation. Both played key roles in discriminating against and denying economic justice to small business owners. Under her watch, Torres-Springer never once admitted that the city’s small business owners faced a crisis caused by sky high rents. In fact, she purposely deceived the public and merchants by falsely mimicking then Mayor de Blasio’s campaign propaganda that the major problems business owners faced were “too many fines and too much over regulations.” At every press conference or media release by de Blasio concerning a new initiative or law she would repeat this false statement, and still does today! Not surprisingly under her watch while serving the lobby’s play book and false narrative, the unregulated and ignored small business crisis only grew worse to result in our “empty store blight.” Yes, this glaring historic failure is on her resume! There are few, if any, economic policy leaders that during a nationwide economic boom, are responsible in creating a citywide “empty store blight.”
Torres-Springer lead the political theater at City Hall of promoting worthless programs that had nothing to do with the “root cause” of long-established businesses closing at record rates. The lobby orchestrated playbook and false narrative was followed faithfully by Torres-Springer, and still is today. Always proclaiming that the government agencies were there to help businesses start and grow their businesses. But nothing would ever be done to keep them in business. Reprehensible, that a decade of a growing small business crisis that not one business or job retention legislation was passed!
Under her watch the SBS and administration would hide behind their Minority and Women-Owned Businesses, M/WBE, and still do today. She hides from the public the fact the vast majority of our small businesses are owned by multi-generational immigrant families. The de Blasio administration agencies mandated to be serving small business interests would begin referring to small businesses only as minority and women owned businesses. After all, the de Blasio administration was treating the immigrant owners as second-class citizens who were little more than “collateral damage” to big real estate development in NYC. The truth is the majority of black owned businesses are also multi-generational family owned, mainly from the Caribbean region. Also, the majority of women owed businesses are multi-immigrant family owned.
The shameful record of Torres-Springer towards small business owners is undisputed and a walk down any main street in NYC shows proof of the failure of her record to protect our small business owners. Never once did she call for an honest hearing to find a real solution to the crisis causing record business closings across the city. Never once under her watch did she propose a single solution to stop the closing of long established businesses forced to close because their landlords refused to offer reasonable lease terms. Facts matter to a record and under her watch the NYC courts issued warrants* to evict on average 492 businesses every MONTH! An estimated 1,200 to 1,400 businesses voluntarily closed each MONTH! The American Dream was being destroyed in plain site for tens of thousands of established businesses and she did absolutely nothing to save a single business or job. Instead, she used her authority to cover up the crisis that the real estate industry’s members created. A destruction that is continuing today in NYC and will continue in the future under the Adams administration.
It is not surprising that with Torres-Springer’s disgraceful background of serving special interest over the welfare of the merchants that the first press conference held almost immediately upon Mayor Adams entering office was to continue to promote the false narrative that the major problems faced by small business owners was due to “too many fines and too much government regulations.” Did Mayor Adams not realize he was insulting every business owner in NYC with this nonsensical statement. Not a single established business in NYC was forced to close because they got too many tickets or were over regulated. Take a close look at what Torres-Springer claims at every media event or press release. The same lobby coached talking points to cover up the real small business crisis and the real “root cause” forcing good businesses to either close or lay off workers, raise prices, make less profit or likely all three. Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer said, “Under Mayor Adams’ leadership, we’re going to drive real change that cuts red tape and allows small businesses across the five boroughs to power our economic recovery. By tackling burdensome and outdated regulatory constraints, the Adams administration is paving the way for local business to contribute to and take part in a thriving economic recovery.”
In several ways, Mayor Adams economic policy is worse than former Mayor’s de Blasio’s. For over a decade, the only real hope to stop the closing of good businesses when their leases expired was with the passage of the Jobs Survival Act. A bill created by small business advocates in 1986 that gave every business owner the right to renew their lease and rights in the negotiation process to gain a fair rent. The real estate lobby through their influence of the Democratic leadership prevented a vote by the full Council for over 30 years. The original version of the Jobs Survival Act was amended seven times and had 8 prime sponsors reintroduce it over the decades. Seven times the lobby tried unsuccessfully to kill the bill and substitute their own influenced bill which gave the merchants no right to renew the commercial lease and would keep the status quo favoring only the landlord. For over 30 years, seven times they failed until Mayor Adams was sworn into office.
Even powerful former Mayor Ed Koch failed to kill the Jobs Survival Act and substitute his own lobby created bill. Under Mayor de Blasio another scheme was cooked up by the real estate lobby to substitute their own bill for the Jobs Survival Act. This failed when this new bill was exposed as being written by the real estate lobby in 1986 to kill the original version of the Jobs Survival Act. The lobby’s bill was “word for word” written by the same lobby and rejected back then by the city’s entire business community. But under Mayor Adams the real estate lobby would be successful for the first time in over 30 years in killing the Jobs Survival Act and substituting the status quo lobby influenced Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, CRS.
The true small business advocates called this bill the “Councils’ BIG LIE”, that it would save our small businesses. The truth was the bill would not save a single business or job because it gave owners no right to renew the lease, no rights in the negotiation of new terms and the rents could only go up but never down when a commercial lease expired. Mayor Adams false statement to merchants, “New York City’s recovery cannot and will not be about going back to the way things were.” But the first major bill introduced under his administration ( March 2022, the CRS bill) was going back to keeping the landlords in total control of the destructive commercial lease renewal process. His acceptance and support of this destructive lobby bill would mean that all his new blueprints, programs, and initiatives for his economic policy would be useless if the businesses were forced to close. Unconscionable that merchants struggling to survive two crises ( the Covid and high rents) would face the CRS bill that was the most anti-small business, anti-jobs and anti- immigrant family legislation in City Hall history.*
It is not surprising that Torres-Springer would again totally ignore the decade long city’s unresolved small business crisis. And instead, focus only upon the Covid crisis to overcome and establish a solid recovery. As long as the “forgotten crisis” is not resolved with a real solution giving owners rights then every business’s future would still remain in grave jeopardy when their leases expire.
The reasons why Adams economic policy is worse than de Blasio’s is due to Mayor Adams greatly empowering the pro landlord SBS, BIDS and Chambers. Mayor Adams, though the SBS gave sweeping control of the streets and grant funding for themselves and political loyalist organizations. All these pro landlord/real estate groups claim to speak on behalf of our small business owners but all are speaking only on behalf of the lobbies and political power brokers. Mayor Adams would continue the same game plan strategy of de Blasio by announcing a new grand initiative pretending to help support small businesses and given credibility by dozens of government agencies/organizations/lobby loyal politicians. He would then use this worthless program or initiative to create political jobs. Under the disguise of his many economic programs to help small businesses Mayor Adams has created since in office more jobs/commissioners/task forces/advisory boards etc. than any of the past Mayors.
Mayor Adams economic policy will go down in history as potentially the most destructive to small business owners and the most hypocritical ever. Destructive because our businesses faced the challenges of two crises at the same time without a real lifeline being offered to save them. Hypocritical because on the one hand Adams praises the M/WBE program and often holds it up as a real success story for his economic policy. Yet, at the same time he expands and empowers the BIDS which are property owner controlled who have a known record of uniting to stop any legislation giving the small business owners any rights when their leases expire. The M/WBE are owners of small businesses who are the victims of the BIDS efforts to deny them rights needed to remain in business. There lies the dilemma of the Adams economic policy. What good is passing all these pro M/WBE programs and initiatives when owners have no protection from being forced out of business when their leases expire, and they have no rights. No rights because the property owner controlled BIDS and Chambers, empowered by Mayor Adams have aggressively opposed any legislation giving the M/WBE owners the right to renew their leases and rights to negotiate fair lease terms that would allow them enough profits to remain in business. The city’s BIDS and Chambers played a major role in promoting the real estate lobby’s destructive CRS bill. Mayor Adams and Torres-Springer have supported a study of keeping a record of vacant stores. How much better for our small businesses to do a study of how many M/WBE owners were forced to close over the years due to having no rights when their leases expire? Also, how many are estimated will be forced to close in the future when their leases expire and the destructive CRS bill the BIDS and Chambers promoted is passed? A shocking answer to a 2021 independent survey of immigrant owned businesses*:
20. If our government passed the Jobs Survival Act would this motivate you to remain in business and look to a brighter 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%_____
Former Mayor de Blasio’s lobby controlled economic policy’s outcome was making a growing crisis worse which lead to the nation’s only “empty store blight” on vibrant main streets. Mayor Adams continued that failed and discriminatory policy using the same bad actors but the outcome for small business owners will be worse because Mayor Adams also supported the lobby’s influenced, CRS act that killed the only real hope for rights needed by merchants to have a fighting chance to survive and restore their American Dream. Having an economic policy worse for small business owners than former de Blasio’s is a hard task to accomplish.
CRS bill is the most anti- jobs https://www.savenycjobs.com/crs-bill-anti-jobs-1
Lobby bill kills Jobs Survival Act LOBBY BILL SUB JOBS ACT | savenycjobs
Mayor Adams anti-immigrant bill ADAMS ANTI IMMIGRANT | savenycjobs
Immigrant survey 2021 Immigrant Business Survey | savenycjobs
Sung Soo Kim, recognized as the city’s leading small business authority and advocate for over 3 decades. The “Godfather of immigrant businesses” is the founder of the oldest small business service center in NYC, the Korean American Small Business Service Center, and was Chairman of the Mayor’s First Small Business Advisory Board, appointed by Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani. He is co-founder of Small Business Congress and sole creator of the Small Business Bill of Rights. He has spent every working day for 34 years addressing the problems of immigrant small business owners. At its peak, Kim had 17,000 immigrant business owners he served under 8 Asian business associations. He never took a salary from government as Chairman of Small Business Advisory Board nor in consulting on numerous regulations. He turned down offers to run a BID in Queens and turned down government funding for his business service center. In 34 years he has personally negotiated and re-negotiated an estimated 50,000-55,000 commercial lease for his Asian members. He has gone to court weekly for 34 years to fight for his members in court. He personally consulted in the drafting of the original version of Small Business Jobs Survival Act and every version introduced by eight prime sponsors. He organized 11 public hearings over 3 decades on the Jobs Survival Act.
2021 Immigrant Business Survey | savenycjobs
LOBBY BILL SUB JOBS ACT | savenycjobs
ADAMS ANTI IMMIGRANT | savenycjobs