For over twenty straight years many long established small businesses, some icons, were forced to close due only to having no rights to negotiate reasonable lease terms when their leases expired. Even though the hyper real estate speculation had created a growing crisis caused by exorbitant rent increases leaving empty storefronts on every main street where once thriving businesses stood, the community boards (CBs) remained silent on using their role and influence to call upon lawmakers to take action and do something to stop the closings and save mom and pop businesses and jobs. 


Now after a hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (Jobs Survival Act) was recently held at City Hall, several CBs want to be a voice in the debate on finding a solution to address this crisis and stop the closings. The Jobs Survival Act is a bill that deals only with the “commercial lease renewal process”. It gives commercial tenants rights to renewal a minimum 10 year lease, rights equal to their landlord to negotiate fair lease terms, and rights to an arbitration process if mutual agreement cannot be reached.   


After remaining silent for over twenty years and doing nothing to save a single business, are they now truly sincere in wanting to be a voice to help mom and pop stores or are they shills for lawmakers who have been players in the rigging to stop any rights for business owners and thus keep the status quo favoring landlords?  Have these CBs joined the BIDS, Chambers of Commerce, SBS, Speaker, Mayor, Public Advocate offices, a dozen or so  council members, government funded groups, fake business organizations, and the puppet master of City Hall, the real estate lobby (REBNY) in the rigging charade, deceitfully claiming to want to find a solution to stop the closings and end the crisis?


A committee from CB 6 recently voted on supporting the Jobs Survival Act but with changes made to the bill. Where did these changes originate from?

From a dedicated due diligence that a crisis deserves, or were they a continuation of the REBNY orchestrated rigging to keep the status quo?  A detailed review  of these recommended changes shows clearly this CB committee vote was not in the best interests of its small business owners nor was it in serving the will of the people who want a real solution now to stop the closings.  Instead, this recommendation was given only to give credibility to the false narrative cooked up by REBNY at the public hearing on the Jobs Survival Act and carried out by their lawmaker cronies, lead by Speaker Johnson and Small Business Committee Chair and real estate owner and landlord protector, Councilman Gjonaj.


First REBNY talking point and recommendation, “define small business”. In the long 30 year debate on this issue, only at the recent hearing was the first time a call was made to define small businesses!  The reason for the drafters to never define small businesses is because the bill was intended to

create a fair lease renewal process, one that was not one sided in favor of the landlord, and one that was not discriminatory.  By making a fair lease renewal process this would preserve most established businesses that were willing and able to pay a reasonable rent and live with fair lease terms.

By defining small business, it would result in stopping the growth of most businesses and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. This recommendation is the most anti jobs policy possible if enacted during a crisis, and clearly not written by anyone who has ever owned a small business. It is ludicrous! Besides, the changes proposed would create constitutional issues that do not now exist with the legislation.


To define small business is arbitrary and irrelevant if the goal is to “level the playing field” to preserve businesses and jobs when their leases expire.  If a small business is defined as 20 or less then all businesses that are growing and expanding would stop all hiring when they reach 20.  Those over 20, as they approached lease expiration would begin firing employees to reach below 20 and gain the protection of the legislation, especially during a crisis. This recommendation flies in the face of the spirit of capitalism and good government and frankly is a stupid suggestion.


Second recommendation is for the bill to provide stipulations to prohibit formulaic businesses or chains from repeating in small neighborhoods.

This is willful ignorance and dishonesty from lawmakers and agencies who supposedly represent small businesses. The Jobs Survival Act is a specific statute dealing only with the commercial lease renewal process. Any additional clauses cannot be added to this process without an immediate challenge in court if passed into law. The lawmakers know this reality yet remain silent and they are dishonest with the public in not making them aware that legislation to check chains and franchises, such as zoning laws which have nothing to do with commercial lease renewals, and only deal with new leases, would not save a single business.  The real dishonesty from lawmakers is knowing the best law to control and regulate the growth of chain stores is the Jobs Survival Act, but for a decade they keep this a secret from the public.


If the Jobs Survival Act had passed, businesses remain in business because they have rights and this prevents greedy landlords from forcing them out to

rent to big chains. If passed, the stores would not be empty waiting for chains but filled with local mom and pop stores.  Do not allow lawmakers or SBS to scapegoat chains for the blight of main street, blame your local lawmaker for being complicit to the rigging of a bill that would have offered the greatest deterrent in preventing chains citywide from opening in the first place.


Third recommendation was to limit the focus of the bill to small businesses and exclude big corporations and chains. This is the main REBNY talking point at the public hearing and their mantra for 30 years, “retail storefronts only”.  All the REBNY coaching to their loyalist that the bill was “not the silver bullet” and needed changes because it protected Goldman Sachs etc was all just code for change the bill to retail storefront only. Again, a recommendation born of ignorance. Retail rents will never be stabilized as long as big banks bid against franchises and chains for prime locations!! Every business strip’s commercial rental market is established  by what the big guys and new fools pay for rent, not by what is “reasonable.”   All the mom and pop well managed businesses are at the mercy of this out of control ridiculous rents being paid by the bigger players. Therefore, you want a law that helps keep the rents reasonable for those that set the standard for an area. When big banks and franchises pay reasonable rents then mom and pop will receive reasonable rents. Goldman Sachs’ rent may set the standard for Wall Street, but has nothing to do with this bill where the standards are set by banks and chains’ rents for main street.


Forth recommendation urged legislators to create provisions in the bill that would encourage landlords to lease to new businesses, as well as to minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses. Again, either willful ignorance, never read the bill, or just mimicking REBNY false narrative.   The bill has nothing to do with the new leases!!  It is exclusively for commercial lease renewal process only.  Anymore comment on this absurd recommendation will give it some credibility which is not deserving.  When you claim to want to find a solution to stop the closing of small businesses then begin adding provisions addressing new businesses and the usual SBS worthless phony initiatives, your not sincere. You are distracting away from the crisis and contributing to it.


Fifth recommendation is to urge state legislators to create and pass a similar bill with all the same stipulations and the same protections at the state level.

Another distraction, the exact bill word for word with the same title has been introduced both in the Senate and Assembly for several years.  The bill number in the Assembly is A08340 introduced by Assemblyman O’Donnell.

The number in the Senate is S01040 introduced by former Senator Avella.

This recommendation implies little time spent on researching and more likely just mimicking REBNY coached points, or shows no knowledge of the bill’s origins or history and the seven amendments over the years. 


Misinformation and outright false statements given to justify this recommendation shows how influential the real estate lobby is in controlling the narrative around this bill.  One example is the false statement from Katie Loeb , Councilmember Carlina Rivera’s budget director,  “it ( Jobs Survival Act) hadn’t been amended in 30 years.”  This false statement likely came from the misinformation Councilmember Rivera has been touting for several years when discussing the bill,“ we need the 21st Century version of the bill. “  The REBNY loyalist who coached Councilmember Rivera omitted the truth that the Small Business Jobs Survival Act was reformed and updated in 2008 to become the 21st Century version of the bill. In fact, at the hearing the bill’s first prime sponsor Ruth Messinger said she would not recognize today’s version compared with the original bill.  Why, because the bill has been revised and updated seven times! Again, fake news vs facts.


The new talking point from REBNY is its ok to change the bill, because “the general spirit of the bill is still so important.” This CB resolution is a disgrace to good government and an insult to desperate small business owners who deserve better.   This committee and the local lawmakers have no intention of acting in good faith to pass the Jobs Survival Act intact and save the businesses. 


The lack of any action by the CB over the past decades as the Village has been slowly destroyed and transformed into a sterile shopping mall, combined with this insulting resolution that is clearly supporting a false REBNY narrative should cause the public to take a serious look at the role of our city’s CBs and who really influences their decisions, and ask, “who do they really serve?”  If its REBNY or the political cronies REBNY  bought and who mimic only a REBNY narrative,  as in this resolution,  then CBs clearly do more harm to society than good and need a major reform to where they serve only the will of the people, instead of serving the political machine and special interests.   

The Jobs Survival Act IS the silver bullet and would stop the closings

of small businesses immediately.  Therefore, all future closings and lost jobs should be the responsibility of lawmaker who, for their own political ambitions, only tout REBNY’s false narrative to keep the status quo.


Want more facts,