Taking a page from the Anthony Weiner shopping-with-the-press playbook, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer took reporters on a tour through West Harlem this afternoon–following a roundtable discussion with minority business leaders–and got some fashion advice along the way,
After picking up an iced coffee at the newly-opened Harlem Shake (“Why’s ice coffee more expensive than regular coffee? You get less coffee, you pay more, I’ve never understood it,” he mused), Mr. Spitzer popped into Harlem Haberdashery, a funky–and expensive, he’d later learn–clothing boutique popular with professional athletes and local pols, including mayoral candidate Bill Thompson and Rev. Al Sharpton.
Almost immediately, Mr. Spitzer made a beeline to an antique globe sitting near the cash register, picking it up like a basketball. “This is cool, man. Globes are cool!” he exclaimed.
Anthony Weiner slammed Mayor Michael Bloomberg for slapping small businesses with too many fines–but what was touted as the ex-Congressman’s first major policy speech fell flat with some in the Upper West Side audience, who walked away unimpressed earlier today.
Mr. Weiner’s address focused on complaints about the uptick in fines and summonses levied by the Bloomberg administration against small businesses, arguing the city should be making it easier–not harder–for small businesses to thrive. The issue of fines has been frequently touted by other candidates, including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has made the issue a signature piece of his campaign.
A few days ago, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio filed a lawsuit against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration for not providing data on the fines they’re increasingly handing out to small businesses. However, it doesn’t seem that Mr. Bloomberg is impressed with those legal endeavors.
“The only thing I can think of in this lawsuit is he seems to say that we’re wrong in enforcing the law,” Mr. Bloomberg told The Politicker after a press conference this morning, asserting the city government is simply doing its job by handing out the fines. “I don’t know, if you don’t like the laws, get the City Council to change them, but our job is to enforce the law.”
After GOP activist Andy Sullivan declared his intentions to challenge Councilman Vinnie Gentile last week, charging that the incumbent has done nothing to help small businesses, the Councilman doesn’t look likely to cede this ground to his opponent. He blasted out a statement this afternoon entitled “CM GENTILE VOWS TO END CITY’S ASSAULT ON SMALL BUSINESSES.”
“My district office in Bay Ridge is a storefront on Third Avenue. I am surrounded by restaurants, small retail stores and other mom & pop businesses. I hear what they’re going through with City agencies and they are not happy,” Councilman Gentile said last week to a room full of business leaders at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a place for enforcement of consumer rights and health standards but there is absolutely no place to turn enforcement responsibilities into revenue collection responsibilities. I am very concerned that the Departments of Health and Sanitation have become little more than extra tentacles for the City’s revenue collection.”