PART I I I

MBP Gale Brewer Trying to Substitute a Landlord’s Bill for the Tenant’s Jobs Survival Act was the most

anti-democracy act possible. 

 

In Part I and II,* I made clear that our small businesses were being destroyed in record numbers in NYC long before the coronavirus crisis, and likely will continue to be after.  Because of an unresolved over decade long growing crisis the majority of our businesses would have no future after the virus crisis ends without the immediate vote on the only real lifeline to save them, Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act.  Our businesses were victims of the perfect economic storm. Government sponsored worldwide real estate speculation in NYC. Out of control speculation at the same time as chains and banks were feverishly bidding on main street sites, new government sponsored property owner’s BIDS controlling main street policy and getting rich, dramatic increases in property taxes which the majority were being paid by business owners. All while big lobby campaign donors and power players were at City Hall  hand picking agency heads promoting real estate economics over small business economic needs. A decade of the government sponsored and lobby orchestrated cover up of the dire consequences to small business owners of the out of control rents and landlord abuses.  A “do nothing” policy from City Hall caused by a decade spending spree by government producing grossly overpaid bureaucrats and politically funded organizations all benefiting from continuing the speculation,  profiteering, and greed.  

 

Our small business owners were the collateral damage of the world’s largest commercial real estate speculation bubble. Every business in NYC had no rights to protect their investment or the jobs of their employees when their leases expired. This hyper speculation produced the most anti-small business environment in America, while a pro real estate government did nothing and allowed a crisis to grow worse.  Long established businesses with no rights faced not just insane rent increases, but shorter length of leases of sometimes month to month or one year, immigrant owned businesses were targeted for extortion of cash to remain in business, and owners forced to pay an increased share of their landlord’s growing property taxes. A government created crisis growing out of control but with the only priority of the Democratic leadership of promoting their own political careers and protecting the many bad actors who were getting rich from the real estate speculation.

 

The small business owners, especially immigrant family owned (64-68%of small businesses), were the most “socially deprived” class in NYC politics. Their contribution to our economy meant nothing to City Hall. All the government and business organizations mandated to oversee the welfare of our small businesses were in fact only loyal to big real estate and corrupt lawmakers and many benefited by covering up the crisis and keeping the status quo and throwing our businesses under the bus. 

 

Every lawmaker who makes the statement, “our small businesses are the backbone of our economy” is being disingenuous. With no exceptions, for over a decade lawmakers either remained silent and complicit to the rigging to stop the Jobs Survival Act or eagerly joined in the conspiracy. In the face of a growing crisis they “did nothing” to attempt to even save one business or job.  Several ambitious lawmakers actively joined in with the collusion of the real estate lobby to deny economic justice to business owners.  There are no “clean hands” at City Hall on the denial of justice and rights for our small business owners.  The purpose of these exposés of several Democratic leaders is to inform the voters of which lawmakers played major roles in denying small business owners of any rights and any real chance to survive, with many are still denying a real lifeline to save them today. Who is most responsible for making our small business owners face two crises to save their American Dream?

 

It is critical for the future of our small businesses, the jobs of their employees, the character of our neighborhoods and the long term vitality of our city’s economy that the voters are not fooled again. And that they, not vote into office candidates that have a hidden agenda of only being loyalty to the real estate lobby, corrupt lawmakers, or the corrupt party machine. 

 

While we fully encourage any short term support for our small businesses facing the virus crisis, we know what they will need to survive long term in NYC. That lifeline is the right to renewal of long term leases, equal rights in the lease renewal negotiation process and protection from rent gouging or being forced to pay their landlord’s property taxes. This lifeline exists today, but it has been bottled up in committee for over a decade and is the same lifeline that lobby controlled and morally corrupt lawmakers will never throw.

 

It is for this prolonged injustice against all business owners, as well as the stranglehold by lobbies at City Hall that I am telling all voters the best litmus test to cut though the election year political rhetoric of candidates is this question: “will you commit to making a priority to save our small businesses and jobs by calling for a vote on the Jobs Survival Act, giving business owners’ rights now?”

 

Will MBP Brewer for a change, commit to make a priority to save our small businesses and jobs, and finally mean it?

 

What was her role, if any, as MBP in the collusion with the real estate lobby to stop a vote on the Jobs Survival Act?

 

 

Former Speaker Quinn’s despicable act to stop a vote of the Jobs Survival Act was the most anti immigrant act ever committed at City Hall.  MBP Brewer’s effort to substitute a Landlord’s bill for the Tenant’s Jobs Survival Act was the second.

 

When MBP Brewer was first elected to MBP office the empty store blight was in full swing across all NYC. Long established businesses were closing but remaining empty. The real estate lobby had successful blocked even a hearing on the Jobs Survival Act, but had to take some action to prevent a public outcry and call to “do something” to stop the closings.  The power brokers  decided to substitute another bill for the Jobs Survival Act, one that would keep the status quo for their landlord members.  One that would not interfere with the pro real estate speculation environment created for NYC by City Hall.   Who would they pick to carry out this disgraceful anti-immigrant and anti-democracy act?  And if successful, a substitute bill, that after a 3 decades battle,  would finally kill the Jobs Survival Act once and for all. A substitute bill that would also kill the last and only hope to save the American Dream for countless business owners.   MBP Brewer and Brooklyn CM Cornegy, the Chairman of the Small Business Committee would team up to willingly betray their business owners,their employees and democracy at the beckoning of the lobby and power brokers who had high jacked democracy in NYC. .

 

CM Cornegy and the MBP Brewer team would kill the Jobs Survival Act.

The real estate lobby hand picked CM Robert Cornegy to chair the Small Business Committee. At the same time they stacked the committee with Queens members (5 of 9) and none from the Bronx.

CM Cornegy had no intentions to ever give a hearing on the Jobs Survival Act or any hearing to find a real solution to stop the closings, which under his watch was out of control citywide. Instead, in early 2014 he announced he and MBP Brewer were jointly writing legislation to address the high rents and businesses closings. He was untruthful; he and MBP Brewer were carrying out the game plan of the real estate lobby to substitute their Landlord’s bill for our Tenant’s rights bill. 

Beginning in 2014, MBP Brewer stated her concern that sky high rent increases were forcing businesses to close and remain empty for sometimes years and needed to be addressed. Later she made the alarming statement to the media, “the mom-and-pop crisis has intensified with a fury”, and other dire warnings which laid the foundation for her announced major comprehensive study and business roundtables to find a real solution to save small businesses.  Where was her commitment to save the businesses facing the same crisis in 2009?

Why did MBP Brewer need to create a new bill to save small businesses, when one chosen in 2009 by the Small Business Committee and the majority of lawmakers was called the best solution to save businesses already existed?  There was NO rational reason for not amending the Jobs Survival Act and passing it. This is what is normally done with every bill at the Council except for the Jobs Survival Act. Why reinvent the wheel, just quickly fix or tweak it and vote on it.   If any lawmaker was truly really committed to save businesses this is what they would have done.

Small business advocates knew whatever CM Cornegy and MBP Brewer were cooking up it would not give the right to renewal of long term leases, no equal rights to negotiate the lease terms and that 100% for certain, tenants would continue paying their landlord’s property taxes. Both CM Cornegy and MBP Brewer claimed their bill would be the result of the findings of MBP Brewer’s year long comprehensive study as well as a series of roundtables seeking the recommendation from the merchants.  The advocates knew the truth was likely the bill was already written by the real estate lobby and all this MBP Brewer and CM Cornegy political theater and PR campaign to follow was just laying the foundation for justification to kill our Jobs Survival Act once and for all.

What I was deeply saddened by was the justification given by MBP Brewer for substituting her new bill for our Jobs Survival Act. Killing the very same bill she had championed in the beginning in partnership with the merchants. MBP Brewer would give a deceitful and knowingly false justification for writing a new bill.  She would repeat this falsity many times on all occasions when asked why she is writing a new bill. MBP Brewer, “the SBJSA (Jobs Survival Act)  has been collecting dust for decades at City Hall and has no chance to pass, our small businesses need legislation now, …a bill going nowhere does no good for anyone…..  the Jobs Survival Act can never pass and besides, the bill raises serious constitutional issues about contract and property rights and would be thrown out of court…. this legislation has been spinning its wheels for more than 30 years, even as the mom-and-pop crisis has intensified with a fury.”    

 

Appalling and disgraceful, MBP Brewer giving this knowingly false justification for betraying small business owners.

What has actually been collecting dust for decades at City Hall is democracy and MBP Brewer’s progressive values. She knows for a certainty, as did the entire City Council in 2009 that the Jobs Survival Act was selected by the Small Business Committee as their best choice to stop the closings of businesses and end a crisis.  How many bills have 32 sponsors and the entire Council committee members as sponsors?  Is this what MBP Brewer falsely calls collecting dust?  How many bills have a motion to discharge from committee because the prime sponsor feels the majority of lawmakers, if allowed to vote on the bill would easily pass it?  MBP Brewer knows this bill should have been voted on and would have easily passed in late 2009.  Shame on her for stating the falsehood of collecting dust, and covering up the truth.

Her second justification for a new bill is another false claim that the bill was unconstitutional, a despicable statement. Not only did the City’s own Corporate Council testify to the bills legality at a special hearing, which she was eye witness too, but after the Dec. 1, 1988 vote on the original version, the original bill’s prime sponsor CM Messinger sent correspondence to the Council’s legal department asking for any amendments to the bill which she was going to reintroduce. Amendments she had our attorney Sherri Donovan change the bill in order to satisfy their legal concerns.  (*see memos )   Later prime sponsor CM Linares repeated what CM Messinger did, offer the opportunity to the Council to recommend amendments to the bill, in order to satisfy any legal concerns. If either Corporate Counsel or Legislative Legal Department believed the bill was unconstitutional, why didn’t they recommend amendments then to the bill to correct their concerns?   It is clear from the two prime sponsors memo’s that two of the bill’s prime sponsors at different times were willing to make any changes to the bill which would satisfy Council’s legal’s concerns.  And both did amend their bill to satisfy those stated concerns. MBP Brewer had first hand knowledge of these facts.

**** https://www.savenycjobs.com/messinger-memo-to-vallone

https://www.savenycjobs.com/cm-messinger-1989-amendment

             https://www.savenycjobs.com/linares-amendment-1994

MBP Brewer had first hand knowledge of a Legal Review of the Jobs Survival Act done in 2010 which showed the bill fully constitutional. *

2010 Bronx President Diaz Jr. Legal Review Panel on Jobs Survival Act

* https://static1.squarespace.com/static/553fbb67e4b0c9bd03468d3c/t/57c1d3b8e3df28e6ed6fe89c/1472320442427/XII+Final+Report+of+Legal+Review+Panel+on+Survival++Bill.pdf

Never will MBP Brewer or the real estate lobby or any lawmaker produce a single shred of creditable legal evidence to back up their false statements, because it does not exist. I am upset by her false excuse to substitute legislation for what she and I know is the only real lifeline to save our businesses, and is fully legal. 

While waiting for MBP Brewer and CM Cornegy’s promised bill to be introduced, small business advocates speculated on how bad it would be.  Whatever they cooked up we were confident it would keep the status quo with landlords in total control of the lease renewal process and control of every business owner’s future.  Control of the commercial lease renewal process that was destroying our businesses in record numbers

In March of 2015 MBP Brewer announced her substitute legislation claiming to address the business closings. Upon carefully reading of her report and legislation to address the crisis she acknowledged was growing with a fury, I was disgusted and enraged. Did MBP Brewer really believe she would get away with this disgraceful and dishonest bill?

Based upon my 36 years direct experience with immigrant small business owners and without any hesitation I can say her bill was the greatest insult ever to every business owner in NYC. MBP Brewer’s bill was unconscionable and indefensible.  While other advocates were at first just angry at her substitute bill, upon learning the true origins of her bill and the background behind the creation of her bill, all joined me in being enraged.  Several advocate leaders recommended an immediate press conference at City Hall calling on the US Attorney General to investigate her for colluding with a lobby to deny due process for NYC’s immigrant families.  Others thought it best to hold the rally and press conference but only expose what she had done and demand her immediate resignation.

All deferred to my decades’ role with the Jobs Survival Act and would abide by my decision. I told all that I believed MBP Brewer was likely informed of my failing health, surgeries, and many hospitalizations and assumed I was no longer following our bill or cared enough to be involved.   Likely, she was acting like everyone who could possibly know the truth of where her bill came from was likely either dead or for a long time not involved in the issue. She guessed wrong.   Therefore, I would go public with opposing her bill as a legitimate substitute for our Jobs Survival Act and state the truth of the true origin of her bill and the true intent.  Once exposed, I knew the MBP Brewer/ CM Cornegy  bill would be dead and the truth would make it impossible for even the most corrupt lawmakers to support.  Thus began the battle of the OP ED* and PR campaigns between MBP Brewer/CM Cornegy and myself over which bill would best save our small businesses. My strategy won out when MBP Brewer withdrew her much touted bill.

* Examples of opposing OP ED :

     BREWER –OP ED      https://www.savenycjobs.com/brewer-op-ed

     SUNG SOO KIM – OP ED  https://www.savenycjobs.com/sung-soo-kim-op-ed-1

Sung Soo Kim – OP ED  https://www.savenycjobs.com/kim-op-ed-against-cornegy-bill

New litmus test for the truth

https://town-village.com/2019/09/03/opinion-litmus-test-small-businesses/

 

 

Was MBP Brewers’ Year long Study only a Front for an

Existing Real Estate Lobby Created Bill?

After cutting through all the “ our businesses are important”, charts and distracting programs of MBP Brewer’s study to get to the legislation to save our small businesses, I am even more enraged of how dishonest she was. She credits her legislation to the recommendation of the Small Business Retail Study Commission: This isn’t a new concept—in 1986, the Small Business Retail Study Commission (SBRSC) examined the city’s retail market and included this policy in its recommendations. Three decades later, the urgency is only greater, and this is an idea whose time has come.

How dishonest, MBP Brewer purposely fails to mention the truth that 30 years ago she helped lead the attack against this same Commission as being anti-democratic and formed only to stop a vote on the original Jobs Survival Act and substitute a pro landlord bill.  She also played a major role in organizing the protests by the business community against this same recommendation, which today she is touting as a real solution. She is Totally untruthful!

Backstory

In May 1985, I was contacted by Gale Brewer to attend a press conference to join other advocates to speak out and issue a statement condemning a new Small Business Retail Study Commission cooked up by the collusion of the real estate lobby and former Mayor Koch and Speaker Vallone to stall and stop a vote on our bill (original version of today’s Jobs Survival Act). Our coalition was also asked to reach out to the Council’s EDC committee members to ask to add pro small business advocates to the Commission. Advocate Ron Shiffman, founder of Pratt Institute’s Center of Community and Environmental Development along with Julian Wager. head of the Astoria Merchants Association were added, which would later prove to be a huge positive for our bill when they issued a minority report recommendation, which was our bill. 

On May 7, 1985, former Mayor Ed Koch and Speaker Peter Vallone created the Small Retail Business Study Commission under the disguise to study the impact of higher rents on merchants, residents and neighborhoods.  The city’s business community called it the “Limousine Commission” because most of its members arrived at meetings in limousines. This real estate lobby’s hand-picked sham commission was comprised of  a Wall Street firm, real estate firm, Brooklyn Union Gas, savings banks, Macy’s and Chase Manhattan bank, and big business. This commission had the goal to stop a vote on the original version of the Jobs Survival Act, and substitute a pro real estate bill that kept the status quo.

On June 5, 1986 the Limousine Commission issued their recommendations.  In repose, Gale Brewer asked our coalition to meet with a new Ad Hoc Coalition to have a diverse group of business owners make strong statements condemning the commission’s primary option to replace the Jobs Survival Act.  

Getting advocates to protest against this new option, which all the business community now called the Landlord’s bill was easy.  Loebe Julie, founder of the Ad Hoc Coalition had manufactures and arts spokespersons lined up. Lowell McFarland representing processionals like graphic arts and photographers was prepared and Fausto Codero founder of Dominican Merchants Association and myself would speak on behalf of immigrant owners.

NYC business community unanimously rejected the Landlords Bill:

The real estate lobby’s commission was a mockery of democracy created only to deny NYC businesses’ justice. Their main recommendation was proof of this sham commission and their sole intent to keep the status quo. The city’s business advocates called this option the Landlords Bill because it was written by landlords to benefit only landlords. Their option did not give any rights to the business owners and kept all the control of the lease renewal process exclusively in the landlord’s hands. This option was a travesty of justice because it would not save a single business owner or protect businesses from rent gouging or being thrown out of the businesses they built.  If substituted for the Jobs Survival Act, it would mean the continued destruction of the American Dream for our business owners in NYC.

Gale Brewer  and CM Messinger were both extremely satisfied with the unified message of advocates opposing the Landlords bill.  They repeated our message to the media as well as to their colleagues. CM Messinger and Gale Brewer’s message was clear: the bias Commission’s option was soundly rejected by the city’s business community therefore, let’s move forward with what our business owners want and need, a vote on the Jobs Survival Act.

Why is the history and actions of Mayor Koch and Speaker Vallone’s shameful Limousine Commission’s main option and the past small business coalition’s rejection of it, relevant  to MBP Brewer’s study and legislation?  I, along with other advocates were appalled and felt betrayed by MBP Brewer’s recommended option as a substitute for the Jobs Survival Act because it was WORD FOR WORD* the same as the Landlords Bill which was created 30 years ago by the real estate lobby to stop a vote on the original version of the Jobs Survival Act and would keep the status quo. MBP Brewer’s recommendation was a disgrace 30 years ago and still a disgrace today. MBP Brewer now proposes the exact same Landlord bill she fought to stop.

*http://www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov/downloads/pdf/SmallBusinessBigImpactFINAL.pdf

Page 8 -9 She confirms her recommendation comes from the Limousine Commission but fails to mention the true history behind this disgraceful act against good government.

Begin page 8  Help small businesses cope in the current real estate market

The tenant or the landlord may invoke nonbinding mediation within 30 days. If both parties do not agree on lease terms, the tenant’s current lease is extended for one year with up to a 15% increase in rent. This gives the tenant enough time to search for a new retail space.

 

* The Majority report favored “Mediation without Binding Arbitration and one year extension to move.”    page 9-10  Primary option recommended

 

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/553fbb67e4b0c9bd03468d3c/t/570401671bbee0e926f6fba4/1459880333203/SmallRetailBusinessStudyCommission.1986.pdf

 

 

Was the disgraceful conspiracy and collusion that created the infamous Limousine Commission and its fake substitute bill being replayed by MBP Brewer?  Did a powerful lobby collude with a lawmaker to deny due process to desperate small business owners?  Did a real estate lobby already have the outcome of MBP Brewer’s comprehensive study?  Prior to the study, did a lobby direct MBP Brewer to recommend that only their own created option was to substitute for the Jobs Survival Act?  Was MBP Brewer’s so called study, like the Limousine Commission, just a front to give credibility to substituting a lobby created bill for the Jobs Survival Act?

If a lobby did collude to stop a vote on the Jobs Survival Act and substitute legislation they created then they really made a major mistake by selected MBP Brewer to carry out their scheme. With so many corrupt unethical lawmakers at City Hall, paid for by their campaign donations and control, why would they pick a lawmaker who not only was eye witness to the anti democracy Limousine Commission but who also played an active role in denouncing its option as the worthless Landlords bill? Gale Brewer lead the organization of the business community’s outcry against the Landlords bill! Did they not know this?    MBP Brewer as COS of CM Messinger organized the message to all media and Council colleagues that the Landlords Bill was no substitute for the Jobs Survival Act and in fact if passed, businesses would continue to close in NYC in record numbers. Did they not know this, or care?

Clearly, someone making decisions for the real estate lobby failed to do their homework.

Only one lawmaker at City Hall would be forced to lie several times to pull off substituting the Landlords Bill for the Jobs Survival Act.  Thankfully for our small businesses’ future, the lobby picked that person, MBP Brewer. Any other lawmaker picked to substitute the Jobs Survival Act would have easily succeeded with so many of the Democratic leadership in the pockets of lobbies. Any other lawmaker could play willful ignorance of the source of the substitute bill and its failure to save our businesses, but not MBP Brewer.

For her part, MBP Brewer also made mistakes in her “study” findings. As a source of her findings, MBP Brewer lists many BID, Chamber, SBS, community boards and community groups along with only two real small business advocates, the late Ramon Murphy and myself.  My late friend and colleague Ramon Murphy was in poor health but was totally opposed to her option and had little to do with the study, the same with me.  The sources claimed for her findings represented organizations on record as opposed to the Jobs Survival Act, but none offered any real solutions to save even one business.

The next mistake MBP Brewer made was that the option she picked, the original Landlords bill, none of her younger sources would have ever known existed. I was the only source listed who knew about the Landlords bill!  How can  MBP Brewer explain how after one year listening to all these sources did she arrive at the Landlords bill as the best substitute for the Jobs Survival Act when no source even knew about the Landlords bill?  And if maybe one or two did know about its existence then they would also have known that it was soundly rejected by the entire city’s business community. Would they still recommend a rejected bill that if passed, allowed small business owners to continue to close in record numbers?

What is so deplorable of MBP Brewer’s actions is the truth that after the Limousine Commission issued its priority recommendation, that both Mayor Koch and Speaker Vallone could not get a single unethical lawmaker in the Council to introduce the bill.  The Landlords bill was toxic to every lawmaker because it was so obviously a bill written by a lobby to protect speculators destroying our small business’s economy. Who could ever imagine that it would take 30 years to find lawmakers, MBP Brewer and CM Cornegy willing to again dust off and introduce this toxic lobby created evil bill.

MBP Brewer’s Landlords bill also discriminates against 70% of business owners, especially professional owners.   (* PART IV )  MBP Brewer to NYC professional business owners and art community: YOU DO NOT MATTER!

 

I could no longer remain silent and do nothing as my members’ dreams were being destroyed. The battle of the two bills began with the truth being a powerful tool for my arguments.

If I seemed angry at MBP Brewer’s legislation, I have a right to be. In 2015 I lost the most members of my organization in any one year, when 23% closed. She was promoting a false hope to desperate owners, and she knew it.  She knew her bill would not save a single business owner, yet she touted it as the lifeline to save them. Her falsely claiming her bill promoted marketplace fairness and stability for small business owners, enraged advocates who knew if her substitute bill passed it would cause rents to go even higher and even more businesses to close!

Business owners spent years building up their businesses in their neighborhoods. Their customers are from their neighborhoods.  MBP Brewer’s Landlords bill gives business owners one year to move. Move where?  They must stay in the neighborhoods their customers are located. Therefore, her bill would have business owners bidding against their neighbor businesses to remain. If a  business wanted to stay in their neighborhood, the only choice is to go to another landlord and bid against other local businesses, making the crisis worse. MBP Brewer’s and CM Cornegy’s bill fails miserably in recognizing the reality that businesses do not want to move from the location they invested their life’s saving, hard work and built a loyal customer base, yet they must compete with banks and chains and each other to stay.  And the bill fails to be honest with businesses who know that rents are high everywhere and getting higher and the risk of starting over is too great for the majority of business owners to take. 

As a self proclaimed progressive and champion of small businesses, why didn’t MBP Brewer call upon the landlords to take a reasonable rent instead of demanding exorbitant rents forcing the merchants to move?  Why should the business owners who invested their life’s savings in their businesses, scarified and worked hard to create jobs be forced to move?  MBP Brewer’s bill made clear which side she was on, not the hard working merchants.

After announcing MBP Brewer’s study and recommendations, along with CM Cornegy she launched a major well organized campaign to convince the business owners, public and lawmakers to substitute her Landlords Bill for the Jobs Survival Act.

A few headlines from her campaign:

Manhattan BP Gale Brewer Unveils Plan to Save Small Businesses in NYC

Posted On Tue, March 24, 2015 By Dana Schulz

Yesterday, standing inside the Upper West Side’s Halal Guys restaurant, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer unveiled her “Small Business Big Impact: Opportunity for Manhattan Storefronts” report (PDF), which outlines ideas to help small businesses survive and thrive in a city where even Starbucks can’t afford the rents

 

Town and Village

March 2015

Brewer throws lifeline to mom-and-pop shops

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer discusses her legislation at the Upper West Side ….Legislation would make it mandatory for landlords to negotiate with retail tenants

By Sabina Mollot

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said she’s drafting legislation that would make it mandatory for a building’s owner to at least allow a retail tenant a chance to negotiate to keep his or her space.

Meanwhile, Cornegy said he didn’t anticipate any pushback from the real estate industry on the legislation, nor did Brewer.  (why would they pushback , they wrote the bill)!!

 

Brewer announces first roundtable discussions to find solutions for small business survival Brewer said. “The city can—and must—do more to help small businesses survive.

NEW YORK – This morning, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer unveiled proposals to help ease the path to survival of New York City small businesses.

Brewer , The crisis of New York small businesses will continue until the forces of reform can unite behind a common vehicle—as well as our common goal—that can pass the City Council and be signed into law

 

Dec 29, 2015     Brewer vows to make 2016 the year of the mom-and-pop shop

By Sabina Mollot

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has promised to make 2016 the year of the mom-and-pop shop.

Brewer said she now considers it (legislation) priority, “It’s definitely imminent.”

Brewer says her bill would throw a lifeline to small retailers. The legislation has been likened to a bill that’s collected dust at City Hall for about 30 years called the Small Business Jobs and Survival Act (SBJSA).

Brewer said in a statement, government needs to do more to save our small retail stores.

Winning with the truth

The battle of the two bills was swinging toward the truth, and I was winning. The game changer for our side was when other advocate groups, who were also fighting big real estate, became aware of the facts of both bills. Community advocates had first hand experience with lawmakers who were controlled by lobbies and the party machine.  One activist group Takeback NYC knew MBP Brewer was promoting a lobby game plan to stop the Jobs Survival Act and substitute a lobby created bill.   They issued a press release calling for a boycott of the roundtables of MBP Brewer and CM Cornegy.* Advocates were spreading the truth about the false narrative of  MBP Brewer and CM Cornegy and making clear which side they really were on, and it was not our small business owners.

*       Call For Small Businesses to Boycott Real Estate Lobby’s Cornegy and Brewer Roundtable

MBP Brewer drops her lifeline claiming to save small businesses but continues the rigging to stop the Jobs Survival Act.

For three and half years MBP Brewer is touting the legislation she and CM Cornegy are writing that will save our small businesses and end their crisis. But in late 2017 both MBP Brewer and CM Cornegy drop their so called lifeline legislation. Why?  In the words of a popular movie, “ you can’t handle the truth.”  Arrogant powerful people believed the truth could be manipulated and hidden.  Arrogant thinking, that the power of the real estate lobby controlling the Mayor, Speaker, SBS, and unethical lawmakers, combined with the pro real estate BIDS, Chambers, pro real estate  NFP and business organizations would allow MBP Brewer and CM Cornegy to pawn this lobby created bill off as a viable substitute to the Jobs Survival Act. As shameful as this scheme was, in NYC with the corrupted government it would have worked except they picked the wrong lawmaker to champion their Real Estate Lobby’s Trojan Horse. 

What is really disgraceful is the dishonesty of MBP Brewer’s pathetic excuse for dropping her much promised lifeline to save our small businesses. The excuse she used to the media for dropping her bill was, her bill was too similar to another bill, (meaning the Jobs Survival Act). Brewer’s statement that the bills are similar, besides being false is absurd, and she knew it.  No two bills are more opposite that the Landlords bill and the Jobs Survival Act.  MBP Brewer’s Landlords bill applies to only Retail Storefronts, gives tenants no right to renewal commercial leases, all the terms being mediated could only be approved by the landlord which was final because of no binding arbitration, and gives no length of leases to the tenant.   The Jobs Survival Act does give the right to renewal to ALL commercial tenants, gives minimum 10 year leases, and a process thru arbitration for tenants to equally negotiate fair lease terms.

 

 The truth, our bill was written by the business tenants to level the playing field to allow them to negotiate reasonable lease terms allowing a reasonable profit. MBP Brewer’s bill was written by the landlords to keep all the rights exclusively in the landlord’s hands, and where only the landlord’s profits matter. The truth would come out of who really wrote her bill and why.  This is why MBP Brewer was forced to drop her fake bill/lifeline. 

 

How sad the deep fall of integrity and ethics of MBP Brewer. She knowingly was untruthful to justify creating her bill, dishonest again that her bill would allegedly come from the results of a year long comprehensive study, deceitful that the Landlords Bill came from a legitimate study seeking a real solution, disingenuous to the merchants that it was a real lifeline to save them and finally untruthful again to explain why she dropped her “lifeline bill”. The only true statement MBP Brewer made in her campaign to substitute her Landlords Bill for the Jobs Survival Act was, her mediation- only bill will be easier to pass.  At City Hall any bill that benefits big real estate is easy to pass, especially one they wrote. Given their campaign contributions and high-paying private jobs, the real estate lobby controls economic policy at City Hall, like the NRA has stalled real gun control for decades.

 

Where is her lifeline bill?  She claims a crisis exists and yet no rush year after year to put any real solution on the table.  Why?

 

Spending years promising a lifeline bill to save our small businesses, only to silently drop it, what will MBP Brewer do now to keep her promises?   Would she feel a moral obligation to at least use her office to call for an honest hearing to find the best solution to stop the closings?  As a self proclaimed progressive would she find her moral compass and do the right thing, the decent thing, and the progressive thing to save our businesses?  Would she commit to make a priority to save our small businesses and pledge her active moral imperative to work to amend the Jobs Survival Act and move it to a vote.  Surely after years of promising a real lifeline to save our businesses she would not continue to “do nothing” like lawmakers have done for over a decade in the face of a growing crisis. 

Just like the hard right, the Greed Party and new Q party, Gale Brewer is no progressive, only in window dressing, when small business needed her to stand up and pass the JOBS SURVIVAL ACT, she lied, she flipped, she became the voice of NYC Big Real Estate, sadly fooling too many, mostly in her home Manhattan district she now seeks to occupy again. We as small business advocates have been there from the very beginning and we know better, and now you do too. The great Progressive NYC has its own fake news and the BIG Lie too.

NO, MBP Brewer would not keep her promises; instead she continued to play a major role in the rigging to block any vote on the Jobs Survival Act, a role still being played today.