Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Desert Foxes

Not since Field Marshal Rommel have we seen such fierce desert warriors as those who have been conscripted to fight us on the mayor's green cart legislation. Responding to the Crain's piece yesterday, a battalion of food advocates is circulating a petition to counteract our work. Here's how they see it: "To all those supporting the GreenCart legislation - It is critical that calls to Council members, e-action letters (coming to you today), and citywide letter attached have broad support. The hearing is the Thursday @ 10am Council Chambers - please attend if you can. The Crains insider journal reports strong opposition to the bill from the food retail industry - in response our voices need to be load and clear - underscoring the simple fact that bringing healthy affordable produce to food deserts is in the best interest of New York City children and families."

Well, besides the fact that our opponents here could use remedial spelling and grammar lessons, it is clear that the urban myths will continue to be propagated. "Food deserts?" Isn't there anyone willing to do the preliminary due diligence prior to drafting legislation? These folks are so imbued with their own narrative that it seems that it will be impervious to any empirical refutation.

Please get a grip folks! We're certainly not opposing bringing healthier foods to certain areas of the city; although the food desert description of these neighborhoods is quite far fetched. The fact remains that our opposition to the bill is based on its broad brush approach that will end up parking peddlers directly in front of the stores that are selling fresh produce; a fact that doesn't disturb all of our anti-capitalist opposition.

What puzzles us, however, is the failure of the real capitalists that we know are in this administration to take a stand in defense of the local economy. Mayor Mike risks becoming like Bill Gates, a friend of free enterprise only when it benefits him.

The reality here is that the city continues to disingenuously rely on a 65 year old court ruling in its defense of its unwillingness to restrict vendor locations. The real story, as we have already outlined in our previous post, is that Intro 665 reflects the pervasive anti-small business bias that the administration has exhibited over the past six years.


We missed Crain's Insiders post on the counterattack. They did quote the "retail desert" remark of an opponent of ours, but as far as being, "...dealt a blow when a council lawyer told them that the city can’t seek to limit competition by forbidding vendors from operating near supermarkets..," we don't see it that way. The obstacle is not the 65 year old ruling, but the city's unwillingness to re-examine an archaic judicial decision in the interest of protecting its neighborhood food businesses.