Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez is the Only Prime Sponsor of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act Who Today Has the Best Opportunity to Have the Full Council Vote It into Law, and HE CAN End the Crisis!
FOR 35 Years Our Business Owners Have Been Denied Economic Justice at City Hall, CM Rodriguez Can Stand Up on Their Side and Save Them. But Will He ACT before his time in office is done and End Our Small Business Crisis?
The future of our City’s economy, “the backbone of our economy are its small businesses”, is at stake. As well as, the future of job opportunities, especially for the hard to employ, single parents and immigrant families. Very soon in the Council a law will be voted on that will determine if our city’s business owners have a future in NYC. Lawmakers must do their homework and gain the political will and courage to pass only the right bill for our economy. The “unintended consequences” of passing a special interest’s trick law will also determine if property taxes sky rocket due to the continued loss of our vital and major revenue collectors, that being our 200K plus strong small business owners.
If property taxes continue to sky rocket then landlords will demand and receive huge increases in the residential rent increases, which would trigger more inflation and suffering for seniors and working families.
After 35 long years of bitter battles to pass legislation addressing the grossly unfair and very destructive commercial lease renewal process in NYC, a vote by the full council will be taken on legislation claiming to end the closing of long established businesses. Successful established businesses that in past years have been forced to close due only because they could not negotiate fair rents or reasonable lease terms that would allow a reasonable profit.
Lawmakers will have the choice between two legislations.
These legislations could not be more opposite in their regulation and rights given in the commercial lease renewal process. One bill is the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act, intro 0737* the oldest legislation in Council history, written in 1986. It was written by small business owners and true small business advocates and amended seven times over 35 years. This bill gives all business owners the right to renewal 10 year leases, equal rights with landlords to negotiate fair lease terms that allow a reasonable profit for all parties, and an arbitration process to protect against rent gouging or forcing the tenant to pay their landlord’s property taxes or other pass-alongs. After a hearing in 2009 on the Jobs Survival Act, the entire Small Business Committee's members became sponsors, making 32 sponsors, and selected the bill as the only real solution to stop the closing of our businesses and end their crisis.
The other bill is the recent “Commercial Rent Stabilization” Act , intro 1796*
To claim these bills are the exact opposite is a gross understatement. This bill was written by the real estate lobby using organizations and lawmakers as fronts claiming to have written it. It was created after the Oct 2018 hearing on the Jobs Survival Act and addressing the “empty store blight” in NYC. This so called rent bill has only one goal, to stop a vote on the Jobs Survival Act. The true small business advocates called the bill for what it really is, the Lobby’s Status Quo Act.
Just how completely different are these two bills? The Lobby’s Status Quo Act gives no right to renewal to the business owners. In fact, no rights to the tenants, therefore, the landlord maintains total control over the future of the business and total control over all the lease terms except the percentage of future rent increases. Even that right is a fraud because under this law rents can never go down but only increased up!
This law if passed will actually result in higher rents and more businesses closing and jobs lost.
After 20 years of hyper real estate speculation in NYC creating outrageous rent increases resulting in our best businesses closings and creating our “empty store blight”, this lobby law will use these grossly inflated rents as the “floor or base” to increase the rents further each year. Yes, THIS insane policy would be killing any hope for businesses to survive or make a reasonable profit. A business owner cannot ever hope to make a reasonable profit being forced to pay unreasonable rents and stuck with unreasonable lease terms.
The Jobs Survival Act is so superior to this Lobby bill that every lawmaker who put their name on the Lobby bill as sponsors should be embarrassed. The real estate Lobby’s bill would allow the extortion of “cash under the table” to stay in business, of our city's mostly immigrant owners to continue unabated. As well as, landlords giving the cruel short term leases of sometimes month to month to one year or two. Under the Lobby’s bill the landlords can still force every tenant to pay their growing property taxes!
Even more outrageous is the Lobby’s bill giving NO rights to tenants, thus maintaining the right upon lease termination for landlords to send a notice that the business owner must vacate their premise in 30 days.
This shameful bill should never have existed if good government was allowed to work at City Hall. Instead, what should have happened shortly after the Oct 2018 hearing was Speaker Johnson keeping his pledge to amend the bill to exclude protection that he was concerned about for big Fortune type companies, and then move it to a vote. With no other solutions offered at the hearing to stop the closings of our businesses or prevent a worsening “empty store blight”, and with 28 sponsors, the Jobs Survival Act would have easily passed a full council vote. Instead of passing the only real lifeline to save our businesses, our Council leadership joined in the collusion and rigging to create the distraction Lobby’s Status Quo bill to stop any vote on the Jobs Survival Act.
The Lobby’s Status Quo bill was introduced in 2019, one year after the 2018 hearing on the Jobs Survival Act. The bill had no hearing or real effort to move it until August 2021.* For the majority of the virus crisis no effort was made to vote on this disgraceful and useless bill. Now, less than a few months prior to the end of the majority of Council member’s terms, the lobby is rushing forward to pass their phony trick bill as a substitute for the Jobs Survival Act. If successful, the only true lifeline to save our businesses and give them a future in NYC will be dead. If this sham lobby bill is passed it will be the most anti immigrant and anti working family legislation ever passed in the Council.
The BIG NYC LIE! History of Conspiracy and Collusion behind the Lobby’s Status Quo Act
In our lobby controlled Council, there is only one lawmaker who could prevent the demise of the Jobs Survival Act, that is Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill’s prime sponsor. For whatever reason, as prime sponsor, CM Rodriguez never called for a vote on his bill. Even with Speaker Johnson’s obvious failing to keep his pledge to amend the Jobs Survival Act and the onset of the coronavirus crisis, and with 27 sponsors of the bill, he never acted to move the bill to a vote. With our businesses now facing two crises to survive, one the over a decade long unresolved small business crisis and the other the virus crisis, any call for a vote would have meant easy passage of the bill. What was Ydanis waiting for to act?
Was CM Rodriguez truly sincere when he testified at the Oct 2018 hearing?
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez testified Oct 22, 2018:
“ The Small Business Jobs Survival Act is the only real solution to stop the closings of long established small businesses.”
“ We are now experiencing a crisis in our small businesses which cannot wait any longer to address.”
“We are here to get the Small Business Jobs Survival Act across the finish line.”
“ The goal of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act is simple, to protect small businesses and address the large number of forced closings happening across the city.”
Over 35 years, of the 8 past prime sponsors of the Jobs Survival Act, only CM Rodriguez has the best opportunity to call for a vote of the entire Council and pass it into law! Firstly, he sits on the Small Business Committee where the majority members are sponsors of the bill. On the committee, he is also the representative for our city’s immigrant family owned small businesses, which are the largest owners ( 64-68%). CM Rodriguez is Dominican and knows for a fact that Dominicans own the vast majority of Hispanic businesses in NYC. He also knows for a fact they have been targeted for years for illegal extortion of cash to stay in business. And, he knows many immigrant owners have been offered cruel short term month to month/ or one year leases. There are empty stores on every block surrounding his district office, many empty for years. He also knows that his statement at the hearing was the truth, “ The Small Business Jobs Survival Act is the only real solution to stop the closings of long established small businesses.”
CM Rodriguez knows the truth that has been covered up by BIDS, Chambers, SBS, and the Democratic leadership, that the real backbone of our economy are its multi generational immigrant families. He knows that the recent findings of a survey of immigrant family owned businesses are true:*
Prior to the Coronavirus was your business at risk of closing (not due to retirement or health issues)? Yes 61%
Can you survive in business without government intervention to give you rights when your lease expires? No 83%
At any time during the commercial lease renewal process, has the landlord or acting agent threatened to force you out of business unless you give him “cash”? Yes 57%
Can you remain in business by continuing to pay your rent and landlord’s property taxes? No 82%
Did you feel you faced a crisis to survive prior to the Coronavirus crisis? YES 69%
If our government passed the Small Business Jobs Survival Act would this motivate you to remain in business and look to a brighter future in business? Yes 87%
The biggest reason that CM Rodriguez now has the power to move the Jobs Survival Act to a vote and save our small businesses is because he is the leader for Latinos for Adams election. CM Rodriguez was one of the first to support Adams and played a key role to sell him to the city’s Hispanic voters. With Adams support for a vote to show his gratitude and repay the city’s Hispanic voters and to show his respect for the importance of small businesses and jobs to the welfare of immigrant families, CM Rodriguez could easily call for a vote on the Jobs Survival Act by the full Council. A vote that would easily pass with the bill’s current 27 sponsors, Adams backing and our businesses needing rights to survive their two crises. CM Rodriguez can do what no other past prime sponsor could do, restore the American Dream for all business owners in NYC, and end their crisis.
If he had the courage to stand up to the real estate lobby and Congressman Adriano Espaillat, the uptown Dominican Don, and stand for the desperate immigrant family owners he would make a hero of Mayor elect Eric Adams for saving their businesses and jobs and giving them a future in NYC.
No past prime sponsor has had such a positive role with a future Mayor than CM Rodriguez has with Eric Adams. If Ydanis refused to call for a vote on his bill and instead remained silent and allowed the Lobby’s Status Quo to be voted on and substituted for the Jobs Survival Act, it would go down in history as one of the most grievous betrayal of our immigrant community ever at City Hall. It would be a breathtakingly cruel and heartless act against our city’s immigrant families.
If the Lobby's Status Quo Act is passed, then Mayor Adams would be justifiably vilified by the city’s immigrant community as well as all true progressives who claim to demand good government. Eric Adams, a hero or villian, to our immigrant families, in the hands of CM Ydanis Rodriguez.
Passage of the Lobby’s Status Quo bill would raise the legitimate inquiry of whether candidate Adams ordered CM Rodriguez not to call for a vote on the Jobs Survival Act while Adams' campaign donors, the Lobbies, were colluding with their City Hall cronies to move the Lobby Status Quo bill to a vote, and thus kill the Jobs Survival Act. Given CM Rodriguez’s new powers and influence with newly elected Adams and his testimony of Oct 2018, and soon leaving office, what possible reason would he have for not now calling for a vote on his own bill? Has his lust for political power and influence blinded CM Rodriguez to his responsibility to be a strong voice for justice and rights for voiceless and desperate immigrant small business owners and their employees? Why wouldn’t CM Rodriguez want to save the American Dream for immigrant families? When will their futures matter to CM Rodriguez? The litmus test for true progressives on the side of our small businesses will be which bill the Council passes, the Lobby’s or Tenants.
Unlike his mentor and boss, Congressman Espaillat, lets all hope that CM Rodriguez maintains some spirit in him of his younger days as a community activists fighting and demanding rights and justice for immigrant families. It is inconceivable that CM Rodriguez would willfully allow the majority of Dominican business owners to be forced out of business or abused, and Dominican jobs lost, when he was the only lawmaker in a position to save them.
If CM Rodriguez did allow this travesty of injustice to happen and the Jobs Survival Act was killed under his prime sponsorship, he would be the poster child for the saying, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Soon the final opportunity for CM Rodriguez to truly help save NYC's small businesses will be decided. For CM Ydanis Rodriguez this will be his legacy.