Back In The USSR
Not So Fresh Feeling
In his weekly appearance on John Gambling’s radio show this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s living wage bill. Mr. Bloomberg compared the bill, which would raise worker wages at city-subsidized developments, to the economic policies of the former Soviet Union and vowed to fight the measure with a veto and, if necessary, a lawsuit.
“If you think about it, the last time we really had a big, managed economy was the U.S.S.R. and that didn’t work out so well,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “You cannot stop the tides from coming in. We need jobs in this city. It would be great if all jobs in the city paid a lot of money and had great benefits for the workers, not good for the employers, but if you force that, you will just drive businesses out of the city.”
Keepin' It Fresh
The plan to open a new headquarters for online grocer FreshDirect in the the Bronx continues to draw a mixed reception from local politicians and community members. Today, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito sent a letter to the NYC Industrial Development Agency asking them to slow the approval process for the $74 million in tax exemptions being provided to the company as part of a $127.8 million package of grants, tax credits and other incentives from the City, the State, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s office and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. Meanwhile, Mr. Diaz and the BOEDC announced they reached an agreement with FreshDirect to address concerns of those opposed to the plan and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce issued a statement in support of the FreshDirect facility.
Local activists in The Bronx have criticized the deal to keep the headquarters of online grocer FreshDirect in the five boroughs as insufficiently transparent and an improper use of city funds, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the project at a press conference this morning.
“We don’t go negotiate deals open, nobody would ever deal with the city, you couldn’t negotiate a deal,” Mayor Bloomberg said in response to a question from The Politicker.
Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced the online grocer FreshDirect will be setting up shop in the Bronx with an expanded headquarters and operations center at Harlem River Yards. The trio of New York politicians beat out New Jersey and that state’s governor, Chris Christie, who aggressively lobbied and offered a $100 million bid to woo the FreshDirect facility across the state line.
FreshDirect will spend $112.6 million on the headquarters, which will be augmented by $127.8 million in grants, tax credits and other incentives from the City, the State, Borough President Diaz’s office and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.