CLAYTON PATTERSON'S STATEMENT: SAVE NEW YORK CITY
By Jeremiah Moss 2015 [14 min]
ABOUT SAVE NEW YORK CITY | Mission
SaveNYC is a grassroots, crowd-sourced, DIY movement to raise awareness and take action for protecting and preserving the diversity and uniqueness of the urban fabric in New York City. As our vibrant streetscapes and neighborhoods are turned into bland, suburban-style shopping malls, filled with chain stores and glossy luxury retail, #SaveNYC is fighting for small businesses and cultural institutions.
How can we save New York? Here are some ideas.
The devastation has been overwhelming. Protecting what remains will require a multi-pronged approach:
1. Pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) to create fair negotiations of commercial lease renewals, so landlords can’t use insane rent hikes to evict dependable and beloved business people.
2. Start a Cultural Landmarks program. While general commercial rent control may be unworkable, we can protect what little remains of the city’s oldest and most beloved small businesses by creating a selective rent control program. Rent control can be gifted to businesses that qualify for Cultural Landmarking. Local communities can nominate the businesses they want to protect.
3. Control the spread of chain businesses. Again, City Hall should follow the example of San Francisco, where the city controls "formula retail." If Giuliani could keep adult businesses from operating near one another, then de Blasio can keep national chains from doing the same. A few chains are not a problem, but New York is being strangled by them. They drive up rents, contributing to the eviction of small businesses, as they destroy the unique character of the urban landscape, turning the city into Anywhere, USA.
* See what San Francisco is doing here [http://sf-planning.org/chain-stores-formula-retail-use].
* The mayor of Jersey City has a similar proposal–listen to Mr. Fulop on Brian Lehrer
* Read more about protecting cities from chain stores here.
4. Take the million-dollar tax breaks away from Big Business and give them to Mom and Pop — and to Grandma and Grandpa.
Businesses that own their buildings are not safe either. They struggle with sky-high water bills and a Kafkaesque Department of Health. They often don’t know how to market themselves in the new age of social media, and they’re being bled alive by encroaching chains. Give them tax breaks, along with lower fees for violations and help with creative marketing.
5. Fine landlords who leave commercial spaces vacant, creating blight and blocking out small businesspeople while they wait for the right sky-high price, usually from a chain or luxury business.
It is time to take action and to demand action from our city government. Save New York! Join the Save New York Facebook page to start organizing with other New Yorkers today. Use the hashtag #?SaveNYC when you tweet. Find us here on Instagram.