Monday, February 08, 2010

Half Baked Goods

As Jim Dwyer's column in yesterday's NY Times underscores, the move of the Olf London Foods bakery to North Carolina-because of its unique space requirements-was probably unavoidable: "The new owners promised to expand production in the city. But they faced a big problem with the building on Eastchester Road, said Rodney T. Liddle, the chief financial officer for Nonni. The equipment was old, and the building too vertical. “We bake all our products twice,” Mr. Liddle said. “You need a long production line. That building has three stories, plus a mezzanine.”...“As you go from floor to floor, there’s breakage,” Mr. Liddle said. “The waste and damage were big issues, just from the setup. Our employees were very dedicated and committed.” Fixing up the Eastchester Road plant, which has about 200,000 square feet, was not practical, he said, and a committee searched for a new site, though it did not consult any city or state officials."

All of which makes the efforts of the NY Daily News to tar baby Ruben Diaz and James Vacca all the more indefensible. Here's what the News said in its attack: ""The Bronx, borough with the city's highest unemployment, is on the verge of losing 228 jobs that pay well and have excellent benefits - and self-styled champion of the working person Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is standing idly by. Diaz's inaction as Old London prepares to vacate a plant where the company has made Melba toast for more than three decades stands in sharp contrast to his aggressive battle against developing the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall."

And the paper goes on in this vein: "Although its plans have been reported in the Daily News and in Crain's, Diaz has never contacted Old London, nor has local Councilman James Vacca. Whatever the reason for their inattention, there is no doubt Diaz and Vacca have no clue how to create an economic climate that would hold onto a company like Old London. They were similarly clueless and missing in action when the Stella D'Oro bakery packed up last year from its Kingsbridge facility and moved toOhio, eliminating 138 good-paying jobs."

Of course, the News' attack on local Bronx electeds becomes even more egregious since the paper fails to give proper discredit where discredit is due-at the feet of the city's chief executive who actually has some power to create an economic development policy and to respond to the needs of local company's looking to expand.

As we said last week-and it bears repeating: "How jaw dropping is all of this? Well, in the entire 402 word editorial, there isn't one mention of the man who does have at least some ability to intervene and make a difference-Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Yes, the same Mike Bloomberg under whose watch the city has reached the record levels of unemployment that the News would rather tar a borough president and a city council member with! The same Bloomberg who in three election cycles recycled the same five borough economic plan that has proven to be a running joke. The same Mike Bloomberg who has raised taxes, increased onerous and unnecessary regulations and bloated the city budget to make New York one of the most expensive places in the country to do business in."

Has Morticia yet run a single editorial about the mayor's role in creating the city's abysmal business climate? Or, as the NY Post did yesterday, has the News focused any attention on the regulatory assault unleashed by the Bloombergista big government apparatus? No, Mort and Friends spend all of their time going after the tag team of Espada and Monseratte-leaving good friend and classmate Bloomberg above even mild reproach.

Which leads us to say: Hey Mort, "sha-shtil!"