Friday, September 30, 2005

Small Business Diservice at the BTM

In the eviction of the BTM merchants, the city cited as its legal rationale a section in the city charter{1301,subsect.2} that gives the Commissioner of Small Business Services
the power and duty to exercise the function of the city relating to the development, redevelopment, construction, reconstruction, operation maintenance, management...and regulation of the public markets...
The use of this pretext is without question one of the most breathtaking misuses of authority this city has seen in a long time.

Think of it. The city is alleging that the Commissioner has the authority in his oversight of the public markets to, well, destroy the public markets. He could, according to this precedent, throw all of the wholesalers out of Hunts Point in order to build, perhaps, a football stadium. It really doesn't matter what will be built in place of the Market according to this line of argument.

What should be logical and legal here is that the commissioner's power over the markets should not extend to actions that destroy what the Charter has given him responsibility to protect and defend. Can Judge Cahn possibly view this action any other way? We shall see. He has called for all parties to come to his chambers on October 11th, a day after the wholesalers' rent, a rent they are refusing to honor, is due.