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Small Business Activists Hope to Question Council Speaker During 2nd Avenue Event

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Viverito and Mendez at 2014 Loisaida Fest.
Viverito and Mendez at 2014 Loisaida Fest.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and local Council member Rosie Mendez are teaming up this afternoon for an event called “Follow Me Friday” on 2nd Avenue. The small business crawl is an expression of support for the small operators impacted by the explosion and fire that rocked the East Village in March.

For the advocacy group, Take Back NYC, today’s event is an opportunity to question the Speaker about her silence on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which would give commercial tenants leverage in battling rent increases from their landlords. Here’s part of a press release from the group:

While the East Village explosion was a tragedy that rocked the East Village, it merely compounds the devastation of real estate speculation that has handicapped the East Village local business community. You don’t need Speaker Mark-Viverito spending a few dollars in your neighborhood. You need Speaker Mark-Viverito to truly support you by supporting the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA)…  When you see Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in your neighborhood today ask her: Why did she sponsor the SBJSA as a Council Member, but not as Speaker? Will she support your rights now in the lease renewal process by supporting the SBJSA? Speaker Mark-Viverito will be joined by your Council Member Rosie Mendez who is a supporter and sponsor of the SBJSA so be sure to let her know how much you appreciate her standing up for your rights. The hallmark of political leadership is how one deals with a crisis, and Council Member Rosie Mendez has risen to this challenge. The time has come for Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to do the same and show leadership by supporting the SBJSA.

As previously reported, community activists from #SaveNYC, another advocacy organization, and other groups have criticized Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for proposing alternative legislation. Brewer’s bill would trigger mediation between landlords and tenants but would not require mandatory arbitration.

As for today’s event, it will begin at 5:30 p.m. There will be a moment of silence for victims of the 2nd Avenue explosion (Northwest Corner of 2nd Avenue and East 7th Street). Here’s the rest of the schedule:

• Tour of Moishe’s Bake Shop (115 2nd Avenue)
• Tour of New Yorker Market (550 2nd Avenue)
• Tour of Café Mocha (116 2nd Avenue)
• Tour of Bar Virage (118 2nd Avenue)
• Tour of Himalayan Vision (127 2nd Avenue)
• Tour of Enz’s (125 2nd Avenue)
• Tour of Jimmy’s No. 43 (23 East 7th Street)

In a statement released May 19, Mendez said, “I am proud to work with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to host a Follow Me Friday event in my district. After the East Village Explosion occurred on 2nd Avenue several weeks ago, many of the small businesses have been struggling to keep their doors open. Follow Me Friday provides us with an opportunity to visit our small businesses while encouraging New Yorkers to visit and support these establishments as well.”

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  1. City Council members need to do a better job to advocate for ALL small business in every neighborhood.

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