Archive for the ‘FreshDirect’ Category

Fight Against FreshDirect Gains Surprising Ally

March 25, 2013

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Since the announcement of the sweetheart deal that the Cuomo and Bloomberg administration was looking to bestow upon FreshDirect to take our public waterfront land, Bronxites from all walks of life – and allies from all over the city have teamed up to denounce such corporate welfare. During the last 13 months South Bronx Unite, the group that was immediately formed to block this irresponsible deal, has been called a small, yet vocal group against the move.

As time progressed, in a desperate attempt to garner more support for the move, FreshDirect hired Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, as a corporate cheerleader to win the hearts of all those who are opposed.

Today that plan has backfired.

Sustainable South Bronx has publicly come out in support of the South Bronx Unite platform – the very company founded by Majora Carter, and in doing so they now stand opposite against the deal which she supports. The very fact that they have done so speaks volumes on why this deal should not and cannot be allowed to move forward. We have asked, how can one support a move based on a 20 year old environmental impact statement which is outdated due to the fact that since then, the neighborhood has been rezoned TWICE to expand residential zoning AND limit manufacturing/industrial use? SSBx echoes our sentiments by saying,

Given the environmental challenges already faced by the South Bronx, it is imperative that when a large company opens a new facility — especially when that company relies on a truck-based system to transport its products — an environmental impact study must take place. As advocates for the South Bronx, we at Sustainable South Bronx find it unacceptable that FreshDirect’s move to the South Bronx has not been subject to an environmental impact study and that the company has refused to conduct such a study. The review that FreshDirect has cited in support of its argument that environmental impact will be minimal dates from 1993 and pertains to a completely different project. In any community, this would be an unacceptable stand, but even more so in the South Bronx. [you can read the entire statement here.]

Recently, FreshDirect and supporters of their move touted that they had the backing of 6 Bronx-based organizations but what they will never reveal is that over 30 organizations have signed on to the South Bronx Unite platform (35 as of this writing to be exact).

The people have clearly spoken – almost 6 times as many organizations are AGAINST this dirty deal.  Not to shabby for an allegedly “small” group.

State of the Borough Address — Ruben Diaz Jr’s Staff Sends Police Officer After Individuals For Passing Out Flyers

February 24, 2012

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It can only be described as petty – the latest attempt to silence the opposition against the FreshDirect sweetheart deal,  by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr’s office at the State of the Borough Address held earlier today at Truman High School in Co-op city.

While I was walking into the auditorium with other concerned citizens of the Bronx I was reprimanded for handing out literature on why the FreshDirect deal is not good for the Bronx. A staffer quickly sent for other individuals higher up in the BP’s administration to put a stop to our distribution saying that it was inappropriate at this event.

I was later confronted by another staffer who tried to block my way down the aisle and when asked who she was she simply said “I’m with the Borough President. ” Once I made it to my seat, a few minutes later I was approached by a police officer who wanted me to get up and step away so that he could speak with me. I refused to answer anything until he told me what this was about and after asking him two or three times he finally said that there was a complaint that I was handing out flyers. I remained seated and after he was communicating with his superiors they left my alone.

Is this not a free country? Is this proper use of the NYPD to send them to get someone with flyers? This is just one of the latest tactics employed by Diaz Jr’s office since the much touted FreshDirect deal has become a public relations disaster for him. Last Friday, his office began to censor the opposition on Facebook by deleting any posts by myself or other individuals from his wall and then I was removed from the Bronxites For FreshDirect page that was created by the Diaz camp to show FreshDirect that there is support for their company in the Bronx.

That group is supposed to be an open forum but they have closed it off so that no one can post. Again I ask, is this a democracy? Do they not realize that by attempting to censor and silence their constituents they’re showing poor leadership skills and not being able to handle the pressure when they clearly have made a bad decision? Citizens are to be listened to, not ignored.

Ruben Diaz Jr has yet responded to the questions posed by Bronxites except with the stock answer, “This and many questions have been answered by the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), here’s the link. The MOU has not answered many of the questions and as one resident said on Facebook, “You still haven’t answered any of my questions and after reading the MOU, I have even more questions.”

On a more pleasant note, NYC Comptroller John Liu was present and when introduced at the beginning of the presentation received a loud applause from the audience, particularly from those opposed to the deal. It should be noted that his representative on the Industrial Development Agency’s board was the only vote against the deal.

In his press release immediately following the vote Mr Liu went on to say:

“Today’s $100 million subsidy to Fresh Direct was already a done deal from the moment it was announced last week and the reality is that my vote today does not change the outcome. Nonetheless, I cannot vote for this subsidy in good conscience. There may be more ways to ensure a better return on this investment. “For the cost of this benefits package the city could give 4,385 students full, four-year scholarships to CUNY or hire 1,458 new teachers or pay for 350,000 GED test-prep programs or launch a micro-lending program for minority and women entrepreneurs.

“The EDC has not clearly justified why this much money should be used to subsidize this company. This subsidy seems to give away too much in exchange for the jobs and economic development it promises, despite the rosy numbers provided by the EDC.

When the city’s chief financial officer raises questions regarding the details of such a large deal as this is, it behooves others in government to heed the warnings.

Will Diaz, Bloomberg and ultimately Cuomo listen? Only time will tell.

Did FreshDirect deserve more than $100M in tax breaks and subsidies? – Polls | Crain’s New York Business

February 16, 2012

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Crain’s New York, one of the most respected business journals in the industry is asking a poll on the FreshDirect issue of receiving $130 million in tax breaks and subsidies.  Public opinion is clearly showing that more and more people are increasingly opposed to such a deal – particularly one done without community input. (Don’t forget to read our open letter to Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr!)

Please take the poll:

Did FreshDirect deserve more than $100M in tax breaks and subsidies? – Polls | Crain’s New York Business.

MORE ARTICLES AND VIDEOS DISCUSSING THE GROWING CONCERNS OF THE FRESHDIRECT $130 MILLION DEAL

NY1

NY Daily News

New York Times

New York City Comptroller

  • “Today’s $100 million subsidy to Fresh Direct was already a done deal from the moment it was announced last week and the reality is that my vote today does not change the outcome.  Nonetheless, I cannot vote for this subsidy in good conscience.  There may be more ways to ensure a better return on this investment.
    “For the cost of this benefits package the city could give 4,385 students full, four-year scholarships to CUNY or hire 1,458 new teachers or pay for 350,000 GED test-prep programs or launch a micro-lending program for minority and women entrepreneurs. – Read more: http://www.comptroller.nyc.gov/press/2012_releases/pr12-02-015.shtm