OP ED

Part I

Facing Two Crises Today with A Possible Fatal Third in the Near Future, Why Would Any Progressive Lawmaker Continue to Deny Economic Justice to Desperate Small Business Owners?

Why Progressive Lawmakers Cover-up the City’s Destructive Economic Policy which is in fact

Insanity to the Extreme!

It's campaign time again in NYC, where suddenly, every NYC lawmaker is a born-again-progressive, pushing to be in front of any protest to proclaim their anger against any injustice or against denial of rights with whoever is holding the rally.  Then rushing to City Hall to quickly fast track legislation which will brand them as "champions" of justice and rights. Next, they will blast over social media touting their sincerity of a cause and their record of taking quick action to address it.  All the while, hoping nobody takes the time to research their true records and actions not taken and their role and responsibility for creating the very same injustice in the first place.

There is one grave injustice and disgraceful denial of rights that lawmakers are not rushing to speak out against or to ever take any action to end. One greater than most causing more jobs loss, community main streets failure and hurting immigrants and minorities even worse. In fact, this shameful denial of economic injustice, and the terrible consequences created to our economy and society, has been successfully hidden from the public for over a decade by lawmakers serving a corrupt democratic party that is in collusion with special interests. This injustice, gross discrimination, and dreadful treatment as second class citizens has lead to our small businesses becoming the most  “deprived social class” in NYC.

Self proclaimed progressive lawmakers do not want the public to know the truth of their betrayal of their progressive values in order to further their own political ambitions. A major victim of this sellout of democracy and ethics to the powerful lobbies has been our small business owners and their workers. Even in the face of the worst crisis ever confronting our small business owners, our lawmakers are continuing to collaborate with the real estate lobby to rig the system to prevent a vote on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act, the only legislation that would save businesses or at least give them rights needed for a fighting chance to survive. 

What is the truth that causes our lawmakers to abandon any moral obligation to even try to “throw a life line” to save desperate small business owners and the jobs of their employees? The appalling truth is City Hall is controlled by lobbies partnering with a corrupt Democratic Party machine. One of the outcomes of this unholy alliance has been the Democratic leadership’s total abdication of oversight of our city’s economic policy to the real estate lobby. 

From this powerful position handed over to them by corrupt politicians, the lobby has changed the rules at City Hall or corrupted them when it benefits only its members. This empowerment by unethical lawmakers to the wealthy and political machine has produced a perfect environment for the greedy to make windfall profits. A government serving speculators and profiteering has made NYC the epicenter of the world for real estate speculation.  A major victim of this unchecked hyper speculation, are our city’s small business owners, who are treated as only “collateral damage.”

Our city’s lawmakers do not want voters to know that as a result of their denying economic justice to our city’s small business owners for over a decade, that only NYC’s small businesses face two crisis to survive and not just the virus crisis like all other city’s small businesses.  That NYC’s small businesses are the most vulnerable in America to closing forever due in great part by the unethical lawmakers serving only the real estate lobby.  While small business owners in every major city in America that had survived the 2008 recession and had rebuilt their businesses and grown profitable along with the booming economy, the opposite happened to NYC businesses, and our lawmakers played a major role in allowing it to happen.  

The hyper real estate speculation was destroying the American Dream for countless small business owners and lawmakers were OK with this.  No true progressive would have ever been OK with denying economic justice to small business owners and then turning a blind eye to the suffering caused.  Long established businesses were confronting the “culture of greed”, created and protected by their own government every time their leases expired and they had no rights whatsoever to renew.  The NYC courts* were issuing warrants to evict businesses during the decade of economic boom at a rate of 469 per month!  An estimated 1,200-1,400 businesses were closing each month in NYC!  While main streets in every major city were benefiting from the decade long economic boom, in NYC every block BEFORE the PANDEMIC were filled with empty stores where once thriving businesses were.  Ambitious politicans had put our economy on the pathway to economic catastrophe. 

Our lawmakers had allowed the most anti small business environment in the nation to be created and thrive, which created a growing crisis, while denying a real solution ( Jobs Survival Act) to end it.  The shameful truth is, our self proclaimed progressive lawmakers had thrown our small businesses under the bus to advance their careers. In every major city in the world the worst place a long established successful businesses would NOT want to be when their leases expired is NYC!  

 NYC successful businesses stand alone apart from any businesses in the world with having no rights needed to make a reasonable profit, grow and create jobs, having no predictability or control over their futures and likely not able to survive.  NYC corrupt democratic lawmakers are totally responsible for making a decade old small business crisis worse by “doing nothing” but serving the special interest who created the crisis in the first place.

The truth is that our morally bankrupt government and corrupt democratic party does not want the public to know, that even without the coronavirus crisis our city’s small businesses faced a longer crisis where every business in NYC was already in jeopardy of closing when their leases expired. The coronavirus only sped up the closings that were already taking place at record levels.  When unethical lawmakers made their “deal with the devil” and took real estate campaign funds they killed the American Dream for countless business owners by putting the future of every business owner into the hands of greedy landlords. Virus or no virus, small business owners have no future in NYC with the highest rents, highest property taxes, highest insurance, highest utilities, highest operating costs, shortest leases and no rights, zero, nada.  Phony progressives are not going to throw a “life line” like passing the Jobs Survival Act to save a single business or job and risk exposing their scandalous record of corruption. 

In an election year, how does a citizen know from the slick political rhetoric if a lawmaker is a true progressive or a phony progressive controlled by the corrupt machine and special interests? That is easy!  The French have part of the answer. Their lawmakers passed a law regulating commercial leases that had a clear goal.  A commercial lease in France is regulated by statue in order to ensure that the successful business is able to renew its lease and thereby maintain its goodwill and clientele. A French commercial lease is signed for at least nine years, with unilateral termination possible by the tenant after three or six years. The tenant also has the right to a lease extension after expiration of the contractual minimum lease duration (i.e. nine years). The landlord can, in principle, only deny an extension of the rental agreement after expiration of the contractual minimum lease period in exchange for a very high compensation payment.  If the landlord wishes to sell the rental property, the tenant has a preemptive right to purchase. 

French lawmakers mean it when they say, “our small businesses are the backbone of our economy and engines for job creation.” They passed their commercial lease law to prove it.  In NYC the opposite is true!  In NYC all our lawmakers regularly make the same statement, “our small businesses …blah blah ” but never mean it. They are either complicit and “do nothing” to the rigging by REBNY and their cronies to stop any law giving rights to commercial tenants. Or in the case of Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, Councilmen Lander and Cornegy showing their loyalty to their donors and eagerly join into the collusion and rigging to advance their blind political ambitions.  Never once in the decade long small business crisis, or even with today’s virus crisis, has any lawmaker passed any real legislation or taken any real action to save a single business or job. The fact is that no one at City Hall has any intention to use their offices to give desperate business owners a fighting chance to survive.

Other government’s economic policy, like France’s, would seem like common sense Economics 101. Establish policy to encourage businesses to invest and build successful businesses making a profit, grow and create more jobs and bring more revenue to government.  Common sense everywhere, except NYC.

In NYC our government encourages and protects the speculators and profiteers while denying its businesses any rights to protect their investment or the jobs they created.  While our city’s economic policy makes no sense and can only lead to an unstable business environment ( businessses moving, established businesses closing, and a open and quickly close resulting in a high turnover rate for new businesses) and eventual economic catastrophe, this is what our lawmakers have supported which has lead to the worst crisis in our history. Where in the world would it be acceptable to any lawmaker for long established businesses that were thriving, vital to the stability of their community, creating jobs, and generating revenue to be forced to close and remain empty for years? AND YET IT IS EVERYWHERE today in our city.  

How immoral would a lawmaker be to walk by empty stores day after day where once good paying jobs were created and see only empty space and yet remain silent and do nothing to save the businesses still open? These fake progressives are using their office to protect a failed policy that is destroying the backbone of their local economy and they choose to protect the wealthy over the working class families. They choose to deny economic justice to business families in the worst crisis to survive ever, these lawmakers are promoting an economic policy that is pure insanity to the extreme. Therefore, every lawmaker is responsible to a big degree for the empty stores in their district, as well as, not preventing long established businesses from closing and jobs that are lost.

Every NYC lawmaker will be fully responsible if the Jobs Survival Act is not immediately passed to stop the business closings and prevent an economic catastrophe.   

**https://www.savenycjobs.com/latin-chamber-study

 

NYC COURT EVICTIONS | savenycjobs

 

 

NYC COURT EVICTIONS | savenycjobs

 

 

 

Sung Soo  Kim is called the “Godfather of Immigrant Small Business” due to his founding the Korean American Small Business Service Center; co-founding the New York City Small Business Congress and Coalition to Save New York City Small Businesses; creating the Small Business Bill of Rights given to elected officials since 1993; and his being the first Chairman of the Small Business Advisory Board, appointed by Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani.  He spent every day for over 35 years serving and fighting for the rights of small business owners.