V.I.D. (again) approves small business bill; Will Council?

BY SHARON WOOLUMS |  Finally, a democratic voice has spoken for the Village’s silent majority all too accustomed to spotting dreaded signs in beloved, frequented stores, like: “Lost our lease, thanks to our customers for 30 years of patronage.”

We’ve all wondered, will anyone do anything to save our mom-and-pop stores in the Village from extinction?

Wonder no more! The Village Independent Democrats, led by the political club’s president, Tony Hoffmann, recently unanimously passed a resolution at its general meeting calling upon elected officials to once and for all take action to help save our small merchants.

The V.I.D. resolution states:

“WHEREAS an unacceptable number of our neighborhood, long-established, small businesses are closing mainly due to not being able to negotiate reasonable lease terms;

“WHEREAS forced business closings resulted in an unacceptable number of residents and families losing their jobs;

“WHEREAS closings dramatically changed the character of the Village area;

“WHEREAS businesses who remain in business have been forced to raise their prices to a level which stresses budgets of low-to-mid-income residents;

“WHEREAS small businesses have to lay off employees or cut back working hours to remain in business;

“THEREFORE BE IT RESOVED the V.I.D. urges all elected officials in the City Council, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James to actively support and work for immediate passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (S.B.J.S.A.), now pending in the City Council.”

V.I.D. sent this resolution to elected officials and all progressive clubs throughout the city. It is fitting this “call to action resolution” comes from V.I.D., which 25 years ago, led political clubs in calling for passage of the original version of S.B.J.S.A.

A major advocate for then-Councilwoman Ruth Messinger’s bill, Attorney Sherri Donovan, the chief legal counsel for groups citywide fighting for the bill stated: “As a former district leader out of V.I.D., I am most pleased about the club’s recent passage of the resolution in favor of the S.B.J.S.A. I was first inspired, more than 20 years ago, to work on drafting and advocating for legislation that would assist commercial tenants when I saw firsthand in Greenwich Village the loss of family businesses and artists due to a lack of protection when facing evictions and exorbitant rent increases.”

There are many ironies here. The current resolution that was recently passed was the same resolution passed 25 years earlier by V.I.D. Both bills were bottled up in committee in the City Council for more than three years. Furthermore, even though each bill had the majority of councilmembers sponsoring it, no vote was ever taken by the full Council on either one.

One big difference, though, between today’s political climate and 25 years ago was the support and political will of elected officials. Back then, the major fighters for the bill, standing up courageously to the political machine and special interests, were City Councilmembers Carol Greitzer, Ruth Messinger and Miriam Friedlander.

Now, although the words “progressive” and “liberal” are thrown around during an election, politicians living up to the hype is another story.

V.I.D.’s democratic act in passing this resolution should remind our elected officials of the true meaning of “Progressive Democrat.”

 

Woolums is a member, Village Independent Democrats

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7 Responses to V.I.D. (again) approves small business bill; Will Council?

  1. Are you kidding , comparing a fighting liberal like Miriam Friedlander to Chin. That your story has to even ask if anyone is going to do or say something to stop our businesses from closing speaks of how poorly Chin is representing our community. I am not surprised nothing is being done to save our mom and pops. The Village is being destroyed by greedy landlords and Chin is silent. Unlike, our past fighting liberal leaders, Messinger, Greitzer, and especially Friedlander , Chin will not lift a finger to fight to save a single Village business, if it means standing up against the real estate industry.

  2. Chin will never fight for this bill like Miriam Friedlander, Carol Grietzer or Ruth Messinger did . Chin will remain silent as our mom and pop businesses are forced to close, as the Village is destroyed by Greedy landlords.

    • Someone else has remained silent for the past 20 years as the Village is being destroyed. When our liberal fighters left office , Friedlander, Grietzer, and Messinger, why did the VID stop fighting to stop the closing of our businesses? Their resolution states “WHEREAS an unacceptable number of our neighborhood, long-established, small businesses are closing mainly due to not being able to negotiate reasonable lease terms;"…., why was it acceptable to the VID for the past 20 years for landlords to force our businesses to close?

  3. Patrick Shields

    Perhaps consider adding something along this line to the next resolution on this issue:

    "WHEREAS unreasonable and unregulated small merchant, small space leases create false reliance on high profit margin liquor and alcohol related businesses, destroying business diversity, negatively impacting quality of life, and eradicating local business ownership".

    Every neighborhood/community with history can relate, and several of your issues can be wrapped into a more succinct single line. Hope you'll consider. Plus, the issue of regulation must be more openly addressed. It's going to come up in that narrow political context if you're seeking legislation, so no reason to dance around the issue.

    "Diverse local business" has been too long overlooked as a rallying cry.

    • …and if you tie lack of small business diversity to neighborhood noise and alcohol related problems of drunken behavior, it might allow for greater citywide traction.

  4. Great article – it's about time!

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