Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WPIRA responds to city's ramped up tweeding effort

The Willets Point Industry and Realty Association, the group of business owners who control more than 53% of the privately held land in Willets Point that the Bloomberg administration wants to seize via eminent domain abuse, responded to yesterday's announcement by the EDC that minorities, women and Queens residents will play a major role in the city's redevelopment of the area.

"Women and minority business owners know that yesterday's announcement by Helen Marshall and Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber – two people who won't even be in office in about 16 months – is just another phony photo op. It's like George Bush proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq all those years ago – a wild exaggeration that only misled the American public. Trust me, we are not going to be fooled by Marshall and Lieber anymore," said Irene Presti, WPIRA member.

WPIRA maintains if the Bloomberg administration really wanted to help women and minority owned businesses, it would provide the municipal services (sewers, street lights, sidewalks) that have been intentionally withheld for decades so the area could revitalize on its own. The cost-effective solution to redevelop Willets Point would maintain and expand good jobs. Instead, the City is determined to steal the businesses and land, thus destroying the jobs of thousands of working families for a development scheme that will never happen.

Neil Soni, Vice President of House of Spices in Willets Point said, "As a certified Minority-and-Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE), I find today's announcement yet another betrayal by an administration that continues to try to pit one group of New Yorkers against another. This divide-and-conquer strategy will fail miserably because it is so transparent and comes from an administration with an appalling record on these issues. But even worse, this administration makes promises like they have already seized our private property through eminent domain. Deal with us first, fairly, honestly and like professionals—then make your promises. Only then can this be taken seriously."

Presti points out an article in the Village Voice on June 10, 2008 which reported that the City has failed miserably to provide opportunities for women and minority businesses. In the article, Commissioner Robert W. Walsh, who has run the New York City Department of Small Business Services since Bloomberg took office, conceded that he hasn't had a single meeting with the mayor to discuss the M/WBE program since the new law went into effect in late 2005. He also acknowledged that, from the beginning of the administration, his conversations with Bloomberg about aiding small businesses "had not been focused on gender or race." Asked if they'd ever had a conversation in which Bloomberg gave him "a sense of how important an MWBE program was to him," Walsh replied: "I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth. I can't remember a conversation like that."

"We agree with Betsy Gotbaum, whose investigations have found that the City just isn't getting the job done for women and minority businesses," said Irene Presti. "We also agree with State Senate Bill Perkins, who has spoken out forcefully about the City administration's failure to even acknowledge its failures in this program."

Pictured: The Soni Brothers' House of Spices was founded in 1970 on a corner in Jackson Heights. House of Spices now has nine distribution centers around the Unites States with a total of 500,000 square feet of space distributing to the ethnic markets as well as to mainstream markets. They are major landholders at Willets Point and the city is threatening to take away their business via eminent domain. Their American Dream has turned into a nightmare.

16 comments:

StateOfHead said...

you can't put in sewers and etc without ripping up the entire area and dealing with the contamination underneath. The only option for WPIRA is to keep everything as is or give way to what the tweeders want to do. what's so hard to understand about that?

Queens Crapper said...

Much of the environmental contamination was cleaned up already by the businesses themselves.

Taxpayer said...

Here's something easy for even stateofhead to comprehend.

It's none of your business. This is privately owned property and businesses that have been deliberately deprived of tax paid city services for decades.

The real only option is for the city to finally fulfill its responsibility and perform the long neglected cleanup and then leave these people alone.

Now, wasn't that easy?

If you honestly believe the opposite, then prove it by handing over all your possessions and property to strangers, hoping that they can make far better use of them than you ever did or would.

Until you do that, keep your nose out of other people's private property! Your "opinions" are simply lazy lies.

StateOfHead said...

mr crapper, i respect your website and the service it provides to my boro. in all sincerity. but i just don't understand how businesses could have cleaned up the environmental contamination (leaving aside the fact that run-off from their contamination-generating daily operations continues) when said contamination is underground. it's the half-pregnant principle. they can't sorta clean-up the area. how can they have cleaned up what has never been exposed?

as for mr. taxpayer, it is my business, because as a new yorker and queens resident, i pay taxes and community engagement is my right and responsibility. you write "the only real option is for the city to finally fulfill its responsibility and perform the long neglected cleanup and then leave these people alone." but the city can't clean anything without tearing up the entire area and doing a massive environmental remediation. how are they supposed to do that and still leave those people alone? the businesses have to go away before the earth beneath them can be remediated. so i wish you'd employ some thoughtfulness and a little less reactionary insult hurling. do you want to debate or do you want to spew meaningless irrational and unfounded accusations?

i'm not in favor of eminent domain. personally i'd like willets to remain what it is because i respect the businesses that operate there and i have frequently given my business to several of them. and i hope they stick a finger in our asshole mayor's eye, but as long as you and the willets businesses keep putting forth alternative solutions that are not feasible you're not helping anyone.

Anonymous said...

at least you get something for your tax dollars

Anonymous said...

that's right, the same as everyone else. the right to bitch and moan

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Did the Soni Brothers' need affirmative action to build the House of Spices empire? If not, someone hurry and inform them that they are victims!

Anonymous said...

So all those mafia-owned businesses that were in Willets Point for years and years, not paying their taxes, obviously, should have gotten all these city services? How much in property taxes do these businesses pay? Do you have any clue? Perhaps the property taxes on these properties is pretty low because of the condition of the area.
Crapper, your statement that the contamination was cleaned up by the businesses already is a joke.
WPIRA sure does put out some wild propaganda. Poorly written wild propoganda at that.
Taxpayer, do you have any idea how nuts you sound with your rambling, nonsense posts? You have reached the low point where your posts are now good for amusement value.

Anonymous said...

The Army Corps of Engineers is replanting the shoreline with seagrass. They wouldn't be doing that if remediation hadn't taken place. The photos are on WPIRA's website.

Queens Crapper said...

"i just don't understand how businesses could have cleaned up the environmental contamination when said contamination is underground. how can they have cleaned up what has never been exposed?"

They DID dig it up.

Photos: Remediation

Taxpayer said...

"i just don't understand how businesses could have cleaned up the environmental contamination when said contamination is underground. how can they have cleaned up what has never been exposed?"

Your failure to understand is exactly that: Your failure to understand. A failure.

But, your failure (and now that's a public record), has no control over the facts you fail to understand.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
So all those mafia-owned businesses that were in Willets Point for years and years, not paying their taxes, obviously, should have gotten all these city services? How much in property taxes do these businesses pay? Do you have any clue? Perhaps the property taxes on these properties is pretty low because of the condition of the area.
Crapper, your statement that the contamination was cleaned up by the businesses already is a joke.
WPIRA sure does put out some wild propaganda. Poorly written wild propoganda at that.
Taxpayer, do you have any idea how nuts you sound with your rambling, nonsense posts? You have reached the low point where your posts are now good for amusement value.

WHO EVER POSTED THIS HAS TO BE THE BIGEST ASS HOLE AND JUST SUCKS THE CITYS ASS I HOPE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
So all those mafia-owned businesses that were in Willets Point for years and years, not paying their taxes, obviously, should have gotten all these city
IF THEY DIDNT PAY TAXES WHO TO BLAME THE SHITY CITY OF NEW YORK ITS THE PEOPLES LAND AND THATS WHY THAY WILL WIN THE WILLETS POINT LAND OWNERS WILL WIN THIS ONE

Anonymous said...

who is this state of head he is an idit and should give head

NickyB said...

Anonymous says..."How much in property taxes do these businesses pay? Do you have any clue? Perhaps the property taxes on these properties is pretty low because of the condition of the area." ....Listen carefully...There is one owner there who owns a little over 1 acre.. Flat land, no buildings etc..How about 60k per year for no street, no sewers, no garbage collection, no storm drainage and no snow removal! That sounds fair, doesnt it?..Helen Marshall thinks its fair. Slick Schulman thought it was fair. But NOW, its a blighted disgusting area...Interesting, eh? Shouldnt the City give this fellow his tax $$$$ back? I think THAT would be fair! As to your elitist reference to prose and it's structure, your playing out of your league, pal...

WPIRA member said...

To 'anonymous'....I am a member of WPIRA..Please point to one thing that you think is 'wild propoganda'. I may be able to help you. We basically have one position. And that is for the City to NOT use eminent domain, ever! Negotiate with us in good faith and we will respect the process. But EDC will NOT. They have cherry picked a few of us and fully intend to use the 'mighty club' of eminent domain. If youre really interested, I can prove it, dramatically!