Not So Fresh Feeling
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.
Keepin' It Fresh
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.
Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz is offended by the plan to keep Congressman Charlie Rangel in Washington by dramatically changing the contours of his district to include parts of The Bronx and Westchester.
“What a joke! What a farce! What a lack of respect to Sheldon Silver, to the rest of the Assembly members and to the people of the Bronx!” Mr. Diaz said in a statement sent out today. “We do not need Charles Rangel to come to the Bronx.”
The Politicker first reported the proposal to change Rangel’s district after Veteran Assemblyman and Harlem powerbroker Herman “Denny” Farrell revealed it at a town hall meeting last Friday. Mr. Farrell said the plan would give Mr. Rangel “a district that can be won” because his longtime stronghold in Harlem is “no longer black.”
Eyes on the Prize
According to sources familiar with the situation, State Senator Adriano Espaillat plans to run for the House of Representatives if a predominantly Latino Congressional District is drawn in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx when the redistricting process is completed later this year. If his Congressional campaign is successful, Senator Espaillat would be the first Dominican in the House of Representatives.
In a boost to Senator Espaillat’s congressional chances, sources indicate his longtime rival, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, is leaning toward announcing his support of Mr. Espaillat’s potential Congressional campaign.
Congressman Charlie Rangel currently represents much of the area, but Mr. Espaillat is not thought to desire a direct match with the veteran representative.
Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference at Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx today to announce New Yorkers are living longer than ever. Average high life expectancy in the city is now at a record high of 80.6 years, an increase of nearly three years since 2000 and nearly two-and-a-half years longer than the national rate of 78.2 years.
Mayor Bloomberg credited this increase to his anti-smoking, anti-crime, health and traffic initiatives. “If you want to live longer and healthier than the average American, then come to New York City,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. “By investing in health care and continuing to encourage more New Yorkers to take charge of their own health, we’ve experienced dramatic improvements in life expectancy.”
Congressional Republicans agreed to a deal on the payroll tax extension.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would consider being Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Albany is no longer occupied.
The already packed field of potential candidates running for mayor in 2013 looks like it’s going to get a bit more crowded.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a press conference this afternoon at P.S. 218 to trumpet a drop in New York’s childhood obesity rates. Afterwards, he approached The Politicker to inquire why we hadn’t questioned him about the race for City Hall.
“I’m considering it, absolutely,” Mr. Diaz said. “Why wouldn’t I?”
In New York, “The 99%” is actually more like 44%.
Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion reportedly has his eye on Gracie Mansion.
The Suffolk County Executive race is turning into a proxy war between Governor Cuomo and former Governor Pataki.
Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson did lunch at Zuccotti Park.