Mar 072015
 
Saving small business_Panel

Panelists (left to right): Jenny Dubnau, Alfred Placeres, Steven Null, Steven Barrison ,Esq, Lincoln Anderson, Robert Perl and Mark Crispin Miller

 

UPDATE:  On March 5th there was  a small business forum co-sponsored by The Villager and VID, at Judson Memorial Church

On Thursday, March 5th at 7 pm neighbors, local business people, and a panel of experts convened for a Small Business Forum to discuss means to save and protect small businesses.  It was held  at Judson Church, 55 Washington Square South. The forum was organized by Sharon Woolums, long-time VID member and the panel moderated by Lincoln Anderson, Editor-in-Chief at The Villager.

The Issues

Currently landlords determine the destiny of small business owners, their workers, and, ultimately, the character and culture of an entire community.  But two pending legislations, looking at the issue from opposite directions claim to be the solution to save our small businesses.

  1. A new resolution introduced January 22 at City Hall calls upon Albany to pass legislation establishing a property tax credit for commercial landlords who ”voluntarily” limit rent increases upon renewal as incentives to not rent gouge.
  2. In City Council committee: the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, (S.B.J.S.A.) regulates lease renewal process giving rights to business owners to arbitrate fair lease terms and 10 year leases.
  3. OR…is there a better solution?

Panelists:

Steven Null
Owner of three start up small businesses in Manhattan in mid 1970’s. Founder of Coalition for Fair Business Rents in mid 1986, the first citywide advocacy group to stop the high rent increases. Researched and wrote the original Arbitration Bill introduced by former Councilmember Ruth Messinger in 1986.  Appointed to first Mayoral Small Business Advisory Task Force by Mayor Dinkins. Founder of Coalition to Save Small Businesses in 2008 Co Founder of Small Business Congress in 1991.  Help rewrite the Arbitration Bill for Council Member Robert Jackson which became the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. 

Alfred Placeres
Founder NYS Federation Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and former member of USA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chair of eastern US district; member of both City and State advisory committees on small business over the past 25 years.

Jenny Dubnau
Spokesperson for The Artist Studio Affordability Project – coalition of arts groups fighting to preserve our city’s arts and cultural organizations.

Steven Barrison , Esq.
Member of the Board of Directors of the New York Main Street Alliance since 1992.  President and founder of Bay Improvement Group, a local main street coalition based in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; Co-Chair Coalition To Save NYC Small Businesses; Attorney for 25 years representing both landlords and tenants in commercial lease negotiations, citywide.

Mark Crispin Miller
NYU professor of Media, Culture, and Communication. Known for his writing and activism on behalf of democratic media reform; a strong voice and organizer for the Village community’s fight against the proposed NYU expansion; an outspoken critic of overdevelopment and the social consequences of rapid gentrification of a community which follows aggressive unchecked speculation. 

Robert Perl
President of Tower Brokerage, and a real estate specialist in the East Village. Mr. Perl’s company has rented thousands of apartments and stores and have sold scores of buildings and development sites.  He has been active in civic matter affecting the community and appeared on several panels dealing with neighborhood development and has given an accurate assessment of the role real estate plays in changes to a community.

The Options Discussed

1. Small Business Jobs Survival Act
2. Tax incentives to landlords to not raise commercial rents 
3. The use of Zoning reform to stabilize a business strip
4. Create a Small Business Retail Retention Task Force  
 
 
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