Opinion: Stop stalling and save Mom & Pop

By Kirsten Theodos, co-founder, Take Back NYC

All across the city, we are seeing the character and spirit of our neighborhoods being destroyed by hyper real estate speculation pushing out longtime established small businesses. Amazon cannot be blamed for all of the closings. A year ago, 41-year-old Cornelia Street Café was forced to close because of an exorbitant rent hike.

The Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) would have saved them by giving commercial tenants rights to renew their leases and negotiate reasonable terms. In a recent interview, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer made clear in her view the SBJSA shouldn’t apply to all commercial leases. Her argument is weak, that the “unintended consequences” of the bill would be including “white shoe law firms” and “financial institutions.”

Even if a business is a hedge fund, it should not be excluded from protection from unscrupulous landlords. Carving out specific types of businesses from the bill is discrimination and would certainly be legally challenged. After years of broken promises to save Mom & Pop, it is unclear why she is back on the small business beat and weighing in on this now.

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Officers honored at community council

Police officers Colin Dowd, Peter Rodriguez, Joe Sgroi, Kevin Fainer and Manny Rodriguez were honored for their work at the 13th precinct’s most recent community council meeting last month. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Five officers at the 13th precinct were honored as cops of the month at the precinct’s last community council meeting before the summer break on Tuesday, June 18. Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman said that crime in the precinct has been steadily decreasing and he said that the community policing program that launched at the precinct last October has helped.

“I attribute that to the cops on patrol and the NCO philosophy that’s driving down crime,” he said, referring to the program that assigns Neighborhood Coordination Officers to different areas in the precinct. “We had a tough year last year but we’ve been doing better.”

The first awards at the meeting went to two officers who work together as NCOs for Sector A, which covers Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy. Officers Peter Rodriguez and Manny Rodriguez caught a man on Avenue C earlier in the month after they suspected him of riding a stolen motorcycle. After the man was arrested, the officers found that he was wanted citywide for stolen motorcycles and had also been arrested for felony assault after molesting his sister.

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