For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 28, 2015Contact: Kirsten Theodos Why are City Hall lawmakers recycling REBNY-Quinn’s proposals?Sham hearing to preserve small businesses and neighborhood character ignores the real problems of small business ownersNew Yorkers, small business owners and community organizations want to know why a hearing was called on September 30, 2016 to “promote retail diversity and preserve neighborhood character”, when it is not just retail storefronts struggling to survive. Also absent from the conversation is the real solution to protect and save all commercial tenants, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act - Intro 402 (SBJSA). This is a continuation of a rigged system favoring big real estate at the expense of our small businesses, manufacturing, professional services and artists, who are struggling to survive this extreme rent crisis.Every New Yorker knows our small business owners face a crisis today caused by exorbitant rent increases and no lease renewal rights. In fact, in 2014 Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Robert Cornegy conducted a study on the small business crisis where they concluded, “the mom and pop crisis has intensified with a fury” and acknowledged exorbitant rent hikes as the cause of long established businesses to close. Now Council Member Cornegy is calling a hearing to discuss “zoning” and “incentives”, which are recycled proposals from REBNY-Quinn that have been collecting dust since 2009. The intent of these proposals were to substitute for the SBJSA and have nothing to do with the real problems commercial tenants face when their leases expire, such as a right to a lease renewal, insane rent hikes, short leases, and extortion.Friday’s Small Business Committee hearing is disingenuous when the proposals they want to discuss aren't addressing the root of the problem: high rents and no rights to a lease renewal. “Zoning” and “incentives” which will be the topic of Friday's Small Business Committee hearing, were part of five substitutes for the SBJSA in 2009, when this bill should have passed with 32 Council Members supporting it. After then-Speaker Christine Quinn stopped the vote on the bill using an unsubstantiated legal roadblock, her office colluded with REBNY and produced five substitute proposals to replace the SBJSA (please see attached press release from Quinn’s office). Small business advocates protested all five proposals as nothing but Trojan Horses and would make the displacement crisis worse by keeping all of the power in the hands of the landlords and denying rights to commercial tenants. This hearing is a continuation of REBNY-Quinn’s efforts of rigging the system behind closed doors to benefit REBNY.Even though the majority of Council Members (27) support the SBJSA, and even though the crisis is getting worse for businesses to survive, the real solution cannot get an honest debate and public hearing. Does REBNY have that much control over our self proclaimed progressive lawmakers? `Sadly some lawmakers are using their offices to give credibility to these REBNY-Quinn proposals. Please ask the City Council and the de Blasio administration why they haven't kept their campaign pledges to move the city away from the Bloomberg era, and pass progressive legislation to save our Mom & Pops. The public and desperate small business owners have a right to know if our lawmakers will hold an honest debate and hearing to create legislation which will:Stop the closing of our long established small businesses.Stop the illegal extortion of mostly immigrant owners.Stop the short term leases , month to month or one yearStop oppressive lease terms which stop all job creationGive rights to business owners to renew their leasesGive rights to business owners to negotiate fair lease terms
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