Yesterday’s press conference went very well. In the packed Red Room of City Hall, Stanley Mayer of the Bronx Terminal Merchants Preservation Association announced a rent strike, saying that the merchants would no longer pay disproportionate rent to a landlord that is hampering their businesses and trying to evict them. In other words, as Mayer remarked, “We are not going to fund our own executions.”
Anthony Miranda of the National Latino Officers Association spoke eloquently about the need to promote not just billionaire real estate developers but minority small businesses. He said that as a law enforcement organization he is extremely concerned about the sweetheart deal that led to the eviction of the merchants and is sending a letter to both the U.S. Attorney's Office and the New York State Attorney General asking for an investigation. Miranda pointed out that the relationship between Steve Ross, the President of the Related Companies, and Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff needs to be thoroughly scrutinized to see whether it influenced an agreement larded with subsidies, no bid-contracts, sole-sourced land swaps, and unbelievably low rent.
Councilmen Monseratte and Barron were also phenomenal in their defense of the market wholesalers and critiques of the city. Each remarked that the predominately minority merchants were shining examples for communities of color in NYC, ones that often have high unemployment rates. The fact that the city could treat them so badly, said the councilmen, showed its disregard for small businesses, immigrants and minorities. Greg Bell, a representative of the community group Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion also spoke, offering support to the merchants and remarking that Related has time and again failed to include the South Bronx in a development that is purportedly supposed to be benefiting the area.
Here are links to the coverage available online:
Juan Gonzalez’s Daily News Column
New York Daily News Story
New York Post
Also in attendance were NBC 4, WBAI, 1010 WINS, WB 11 and HOY.