Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Community Fight Co-opted by Morton Williams [UPDATED 2x with response from MW and CB7]


The New York Times had a very interesting piece about the opposition to a supermarket in the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment.

BoogieDowner has stated this before, but opposition to a supermarket in the Armory in no way benefits the community. We agree, along with CB7 Chairman Greg Faulkner (as related in the Times' article) that many residents need to shop outside of the community to procure decent groceries. We applaud his request for a supermarket in the Armory redevelopment. CB7 is a supermarket desert; to say otherwise is a lie.

Morton Williams has thoroughly co-opted the community fervor in regards to the Armory redevelopment. MW's deep pockets have funded consultants, lawyers, and City Council members to try to defeat a supermarket at the Armory.

The living wage issue has taken a back seat. From this article it appears that Related is willing to give up on the supermarket, but not on the living wage issue. Wouldn't it be a travesty if the living wage goal went unmet, but somehow the supermarket was defeated, and some false community victory declared?

BoogieDowner has no knowledge of Morton Williams' compensation practices, but does it give all of its employees a living wage (i.e. $10/hr plus benefits)?

There is a moral argument to be made for the living wage issue (even if the practicality is suspect), but the only argument against a supermarket is Morton Williams' bottom line.

Here's a little quote that reveals Morton Williams' real intentions:
The supermarket fight is reminiscent of a battle waged a decade ago in East Harlem against the suburban-size and highly successful Pathmark store on 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. A crucial player in that struggle, Richard Lipsky, the lobbyist for the smaller markets that opposed Pathmark’s entry into East Harlem, is representing Morton Williams. In June, Mr. Lipsky’s office inadvertently sent reporters a memo to his clients in which he outlined a strategy for defeating the project or significantly modifying it “in a direction that is acceptable to Morton Williams’ interests.” [NY Times]
Hmmm...Morton Williams' interests? What about the community's?

Update: Here's what Avi Kaner of Morton Williams had to say in the the comments section...We just wanted to highlight it so that no one misses it.
You're missing the point from Morton Williams' and the community's perspective.

Related’s Big Box food plans violate the terms of the city’s RFP which states “proposed commercial and retail uses must expand and enhance the current mix of retail offerings in the area, and endeavor to not duplicate or directly compete with the existing retail uses.” Suddenly, after Related was awarded the contract, it announced its intention to disregard this RFP requirement and instead plans a giant 60,000 square foot Big Box Supermarket or Warehouse Club in the armory that would have a catastrophic impact on our business and our company-wide hiring office across the street.

Related’s plan would represent a lethal blow to our two Bronx stores and many other local markets which would close as a result.

It will also be a punishing setback against the neighborhood with the elimination of many hundreds of Morton Williams union jobs - as our hiring and corporate office will be forced to move to a location outside of the Bronx where we have other stores.

To destroy our business with government subsidies is an outrage. The fact that taxes paid by businesses like ours will be used to subsidize a giant Big Box Supermarket or Warehouse Club magnifies the unfairness.

We are a good union employer that has been headquartered in the Kingsbridge community for over half a century, employing over 450 Kingsbridge area residents at any given time with full-time union jobs, health care, and other benefits. Many of our other 300 employees started out in this Bronx neighborhood. We are a leading private employer in the community with average wages that may be the highest for a private company in the area. Our payroll is $400,000 a week with 100% of our employees working full time.

We continuously update our stores with the most modern equipment and merchandising. We carry fresh and healthy foods, including an expanded selection of organic items as requested by Community Board 7.

We have never taken a penny in City subsidies. Now the City wants to use our tax dollars to put us out of business. This is unfair and unethical.

The Related Companies have spent millions of dollars on lobbyists; lawyers, and consultants to advance its plans. Just look at the draft Environmental Impact Statement. 10 pounds of paper and analysis that says that a Big Box Supermarket or Warehouse Club would not affect local businesses –– a ridiculous argument, even if it cost Related millions of dollars to produce the report.

We welcome fair competition. What we oppose is a sweetheart deal to a multi-billion dollar developer to put us out of business, with tens of millions of dollars in tax subsidies.

Avi Kaner
Morton Williams Supermarkets
Update #2 10/2/09: Fernando Tirado, District Manager of Community Board 7, has checked in with the following statement:
Unfortunately, Avi Kaner's argument against a big-box supermarket opening up in the Armory doesn't hold water. No matter what Mr. Kaner's beliefs, the fact remains that obesity and diabetes continue to rise within our community and many Bronx residents find themselves forced to shop outside of our borough to find fresh and affordable groceries.

I applaud MW Supermarkets for their recent changes, but the truth of the matter is that the community as a whole still does not have quality supermarkets. I find the opposition to a supermarket in the Armory to be anti-democratic and anti-free market at the expense of the surrounding community. I hope that we can still come up with an alternative that brings healthier and affordable options to the Northwest Bronx.

Fernando P. Tirado
District Manager
Bronx Community Board 7
~ErLu

30 comments:

Avi said...

You're missing the point from Morton Williams' and the community's perspective.

Related’s Big Box food plans violate the terms of the city’s RFP which states “proposed commercial and retail uses must expand and enhance the current mix of retail offerings in the area, and endeavor to not duplicate or directly compete with the existing retail uses.” Suddenly, after Related was awarded the contract, it announced its intention to disregard this RFP requirement and instead plans a giant 60,000 square foot Big Box Supermarket or Warehouse Club in the armory that would have a catastrophic impact on our business and our company-wide hiring office across the street.

Related’s plan would represent a lethal blow to our two Bronx stores and many other local markets which would close as a result.

It will also be a punishing setback against the neighborhood with the elimination of many hundreds of Morton Williams union jobs - as our hiring and corporate office will be forced to move to a location outside of the Bronx where we have other stores.

To destroy our business with government subsidies is an outrage. The fact that taxes paid by businesses like ours will be used to subsidize a giant Big Box Supermarket or Warehouse Club magnifies the unfairness.

We are a good union employer that has been headquartered in the Kingsbridge community for over half a century, employing over 450 Kingsbridge area residents at any given time with full-time union jobs, health care, and other benefits. Many of our other 300 employees started out in this Bronx neighborhood. We are a leading private employer in the community with average wages that may be the highest for a private company in the area. Our payroll is $400,000 a week with 100% of our employees working full time.

We continuously update our stores with the most modern equipment and merchandising. We carry fresh and healthy foods, including an expanded selection of organic items as requested by Community Board 7.

We have never taken a penny in City subsidies. Now the City wants to use our tax dollars to put us out of business. This is unfair and unethical.

The Related Companies have spent millions of dollars on lobbyists; lawyers, and consultants to advance its plans. Just look at the draft Environmental Impact Statement. 10 pounds of paper and analysis that says that a Big Box Supermarket or Warehouse Club would not affect local businesses –– a ridiculous argument, even if it cost Related millions of dollars to produce the report.

We welcome fair competition. What we oppose is a sweetheart deal to a multi-billion dollar developer to put us out of business, with tens of millions of dollars in tax subsidies.

Avi Kaner
Morton Williams Supermarkets

Boogiedowner said...

Would you fit the "living wage" requirements of $10/hr + benefits?

Guywithacause said...

The opposition to the supermarket is total nonsense. Morton Williams has ZERO interest in the community, and 100% interest in its own monopoly, and nothing more. The manufactured hype against the proposed supermarket is the same manufactured hype we have seen at the healthcare town halls. It is fed by misinformation, misrepresentation, and supported by self-serving business interests (Morton Williams) and its paid-off community representatives.

Why do you think this supermarket is proposed in this location? Because the location is already well-served for fresh food, diversity of products and services? It is because the area is severely UNDERSERVED, and the monopoly held by Morton Williams only ensures continued BAD service, subpar products, and higher prices.

What have we learned about competition? It brings DOWN prices, provides people with CHOICES, and increases services, as companies compete to attract customers and improve their relationship with the community. What do we KNOW happens when companies like Morton Williams have monopolies in neighborhoods? Prices are set to fatten profits not at reasonable market rates, service suffers because there is no competition so they can treat you as poorly as possible, and there is NO incentive for Morton Williams to provide a better selection of products..just the ones that fatten their bottom line. Who loses here? The community.

So what is Morton William's defense? It is the same tactics of fear and misinformation that is used by all companies when faced with competition. "It isn't fair" and "jobs will be lost." What is the reality? What would be FAIR is a CHOICE for customers, not a monopoly. Jobs would NOT be lost...remember there is a large supermarket opening...and this entire development will in fact employ MORE people than Morton Williams.

In the end, Morton Williams cares nothing about the community, just maintaining a monopoly in the area, and is using threats, fear, manufactured outrage, and drawing on paid-off community officials to maintain power. In fact, the vast majority of those that are so loudly "protesting" the proposed supermarket are Morton Williams EMPLOYEES and the bullies of the community leaders that have enjoyed healthy donations from Morton Williams.

Healthy competition is what makes this country stronger, not weaker. Choices are what keeps prices down, services up, and drives technology, innovation, and development. When you stifle competition, our society as a whole loses, while those few companies that maintain monopolies get fantastically rich. And don't forget, Morton Williams in fact is the recipient of numerous tax subsidies and loopholes..has been for decades. So what fair playing field are they referring to?

If Morton Williams believes so much in their business, service, products, and claim the community is well-served by the new supermarket..what exactly do they have to fear?

Dismiss Morton Williams self-serving interests, fear and scare tactics, and recognize that it is nothing more than a BUSINESS that does not want COMPETITION. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors..don't fall for it.

anthony rivieccio said...

its funny ms boogie

whi;e you say the "living wage" issue has taken a back seat (which we agree) lets also admit the real cause-15 years ago-which hundreds marched for-- the inclusion of 4 schools.

we went from a promise of 4, to none at all, then maybe 2-to 0 because the board of ed was it was impossible to build, then 2-if-if-if the national guard (the community/political leaves are not flying well in wakefield) leaves kingbridge.

Listen to Councilman Koppell & Assemblyman Rivera who remember what the community orginally wants; 4 more schools and more community space

Or as you show in your own "e-mail" NY Times piece on Fordham Road. The implementation of the Mall in Kingsbridge-Varies The Death of Fordham Road. Fordham-did not stop he blight-it delayed it

Avi said...

Morton Williams does not oppose competition. There are 11 supermarkets within a 1/4 mile area according to Related's own Environmental Impact Study.

What we do oppose is government-subsidized competition. Related will be given tens of millions of dollars in tax credits, to put us and other markets out of business. We have never asked for nor taken a penny in government subsidies.

Furthermore, Related's plans are in direct violation of the City's Request for Proposals.

All of our employees are full time and are represneted by unions. Health, pension, and other benefits are 100% paid for by our company - with no co-premiums.

We have been here for over half a century and are an economic engine for this neighborhood. Our corporate hiring office is also located across from the armory. This is where we hire for all of our stores.

If you would like to make allegations please do so openly, without hiding behind an anonymous pseudonym.

Avi Kaner
Morton Williams Supermarkets

Boogiedowner said...

Mr. Kaner,
You still haven't answered honestly and openly if Morton Williams would meet the proposed CBA "living wage" standard of at least $10/hr and benefits for all of you employees. Can you say that MW would meet that standard as it is being presented to Related or not?

>LOU CICALESE

Ryan Graham said...

The Kingsbridge/Bedford Park Community needs choices- there is room for two great markets. If some find that a supermarket in the Armory offers better choices, so be it- then Morton Williams will have to compete. Likewise the Armory will have to offer excellent services to attract customers. Limiting the community choice to a single retailer, and killing development in the process has led to stagnation. It's a crime that the Armory has been left empty- more choices there would only benefit our population.

Avi said...

Dear Mr. Cicalese,

The average Morton Williams employee earns $12.60 per hour.

All of our employees have full time union jobs with benefits.

Morton Williams pays for 100% of the Health Care plan including Dental and Prescriptions.

Morton Williams pays for 100% of the Pension plan.

Employees are paid for annual vacations and holidays per the union contracts.

Once again, we do not oppose competition. We oppose government-subsidized competition.

Avi Kaner
Morton Williams Supermarkets

Boogiedowner said...

Mr. Kaner,
You did not answer the question I posed to you. I never asked about the average rate at which a MW employee is paid. I asked if ALL Morton Williams' employees are paid at least $10/hr + benefits (which is how living wage is defined by KARA and the proposed CBA). If this isn't the case, how can Morton Williams in good conscience support KARA's push to force any retailers in the Armory to provide a standard of which Morton Williams itself seems to fall short of?

Please answer the question asked: Does Morton Williams currently satisfy a living wage (i.e $10+benefits for all of it employees)?

Avi said...

Dear Mr. Cicalese,

We are not party to any of the negotiaions on the living wage issue. Our company is bound by union contracts that dictate wages and benefits. I have given you details of the full benefits and average wages our employees get. Your specific question is one element out of ten (e.g., health, dental, life, pension, etc.) so cannot be answered accurately and I refuse to be set up like that.

Our interest has been on the supermarket side - to prevent a government-subsidized plan to put us out of business.

But I will give you and your readers my own perspective on the living wage issue.

There is obviously a way for the two sides to meet. Our union contracts are in a way similar to Community Benefit Agreements. We are bound by the terms of our union contracts. When we begin a negotiation, we're on one side and the unions are on the other. At the end of the negotiation we reach agreement on wages and benefits. We win on some points, lose on others, and compromise on the rest.

I'm sure that Related and the community will eventually reach an agreement. I have very deep respect for KARA and the unions for what they are striving for. I also have deep respect for Related's business and financial skills.

As an aside, please view this report on Chanel 7 last week:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local&id=7031324

Thank you (and signing out so I can go home and spend time with the kids),
Avi Kaner
Morton Williams Supermarkets

Guywithacause said...

I am very sorry to hear that Morton Williams continues this charade that they too "enjoy competition." That is total and utter hogwash. Morton Williams enjoys competition, so long as it does not effect them.

What is true and what is not true? Let's see:

1-Morton Williams has never accepted any form of government money, tax abatements, or any financial assistance directly or indirectly from a government entity. FALSE. This business, like EVERY other, exploits the same tax loopholes and government handouts as does EVERY business that is in the Bronx. How do I know this? Because the Bronx is starved for businesses to stay and relocate to the area (which is why this supermarket wants to open here also). The Bronx gives away whatever needed in order to entice businesses and keep them here, and Morton Williams is no exception.

2-Morton Williams provides "good union jobs." FALSE. The ONLY business/person/group that claims Morton Williams provides "good union jobs" is Morton Williams. Since when is a $12 an hour wage considered good union pay? Period. Furthermore, bragging about offering healthcare, pensions, etc. is purposely deceitful misinformation. The reason why Mortin Williams employees have healthcare, retirement plans, and other such benefits is because they are UNIONIZED and were negotiated by the union, not because Morton Williams found it in its heart to provide all employees with these benefits. That's the benefit of being in ANY union, NOT for working for Morton Williams.

3-Morton Williams is an economic engine for the community. FALSE. While it is true they have been in the community for the past 50 years, what has Morton Williams done FOR the community in the past 50 years? Yes it's true they have a corporate HIRING office (not corporate office) in the community. But what are they ONLY hiring for in that office? You guessed it...the same low wage jobs every other retailer offers. I wonder how many executive level jobs (the ones in their corporate office) are recruited from their Bronx office? That number would be ZERO. Unless you want to settle for a low wage cashier job, Morton Williams has no opportunities for you, at least not out of their Bronx hiring office. Furthermore, where is their corporate office? It's NOT in the Bronx..why is that? You can be sure that all those profits from the monopoly they have are going right out of the neighborhood and lining their pockets...and being spent FAR OUTSIDE of the community. When you suck money out of the community and spend it somewhere else, that is not an economic engine, that is an economic disaster, and THAT is what Morton Williams has been doing for the past 50 years. (cont'd below)

Guywithacause said...

Morton Williams is running a very serious campaign of misinformation and manufactured community outrage in order to maintain its monopoly in the area. Their pockets are deep, and why wouldn't they be, they have been exploiting the community for over 50 years. Due to their significant contributions to local representatives, they also have significant political support to push their own agenda no matter how negative the impact is on the community.

Choice and competition are what's missing in the community, which is what a true economic driver is. Maintianing a monopoly, offering low wage jobs, and exporting the wealth from the community to Morton Williams executives in Westchester County (for example)are some of the many reasons why this community still struggles, and will continue to struggle until competitors enter.

Please do not believe the purposeful misinformation and accusations by this business. They are simply going down a list of accusations and hoping one sticks.."people want schools" "it wasn't in the original RFP" "it will create alot of traffic" blah blah blah. Remain steadfast on what the REAL issue for the community is: Are we AS A COMMUNITY better off with MORE choices and competition, or LESS? And let's reverse the argument, do you believe Morton Williams "loves" competition, or prefers to have a monopoly so they can dictate prices, wages, and services? Keep your eye on the real issues, not the smoke and mirrors that Morton Williams is playing.

The Mayor of Melrose said...

Guywithacause and Boogiedowner,

Well said. These same arguments were made about the Gateway Center Mall when the deals were being negotiated. And why were supermarkets like Morton Williams complaining? They simply complained because they were going to have COMPETITION. Their ridiculously exorbitant prices in such low-income neighborhoods, where these supermarkets make a killing in profits because they either own the buildings they operate in or pay cheap $/square foot rents, and now people were going to have OPTIONS to shop at such warehouse stores as BJ's.
As stated in The New York Times:

Shoppers like Antonio Segarra, 58, an unemployed security guard, and his wife, Carmen Delgado, were leaving BJ’s, their baskets brimming with low-price bulk: a box of 150 Glad tall kitchen garbage bags for $7.99, a 25-pound bag of rice for $9, three packs of Hebrew National hot dogs for $6.

“You can’t go wrong, man,” Mr. Segarra said. “We’re low income, and we can get pretty nice quantities of merchandise.”

As they were waiting for Antonio Jr. to pick them up by car, Mr. Segarra acknowledged going a little overboard in spending $508. But he figured he would be able to stock his apartment for many months to come. The couple said there was a dearth of supermarkets and clothing stores near them, and the few that were there seemed more expensive than the shops at the mall.

“They think we live in a rich area,” Ms. Delgado said.

(see article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/05/nyregion/05metjournal.html )

As a resident of Melrose I am glad that these big box retailers like BJ's opened up because my dollar goes a lot farther at there than at my local supermarkets.

How can Morton Williams and the likes say it is unfair to allow Big Box warehouses to operate? Supermarkets like MW take advantage of the fact that most people in the areas in which you operate do not own cars and are stuck with a shopping cart and a handful of groceries to feed their family. In case you haven't noticed, we are in a dire economic situation and YOUR GREED is not helping the community. As Guywithacause said...what has Morton Williams done for the community?

I have my fingers crossed that Related can do for the Kingsbridge area what they did for Melrose, Mott Haven and the surrounding Concourse area as well as most of the Bronx which is ENHANCING the neighborhoods and giving people the options which residents in other parts of the city and country take for granted.

Mayor said...

Guywithacause is a liar and a manipulator. I wonder if he works for Related. He is also mean-spitited and obviously an awful person. I feel sorry for his family.

Related is a money-sucking developer in bed with the Mayor's office. Everyone knows that. They are getting the armory for 5 million dollars, plus getting tens of millions of dollars in tax benefits. They are as greedy as they come.

Related doesn't care about the poor people who live and work in the Bronx. They just want to take their money away. Related has destroyed neighborhoods throughout the United States. They were forced not to put Walmart in Gateway Plaza. Related executives in their fancy downtown offices and fancy suburban or Park Avenue homes would sell out their mothers for an extra dime.

Stephen Ross is listed on the Forbes 400 list as being worth $4.5 billion! Even with all this money, Related asks and gets tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money. Yet Related refuses to negotiate with our community for living wages.

Guywithacause - go back into the hole you crawled out of.

Boogiedowner said...

Let's just be clear here:

Mr. Kaner refuses to answer whether Morton Williams would satisfy a "living wage" standard for all of its employees because it probably doesn't.

The question is rather easily answered: does Morton Williams pay all of its employees $10 plus benefits (as any retailer in the Armory would be bound to do if the proposed CBA was in place) or not?

To say that Morton Williams is unafraid of competition is just false. Maybe you'd like competition if said competition was held to a higher compensation package that Morton Williams? Hypocrisy...

Wouldn't the jobs created by a new supermarket at the "living wage" rate increase the compensation of neighborhood residents? If MW does not pay every employee at least $10/hr plus benefits and any new supermarket would, the math is pretty simple.

Mayor said...

Related is stuffing tens of millions of dollars in their pockets, from our tax money! Related's president is worth 4.5 billion dollars.

Related just wants to put in whoever pays them the most rent. That's all they care about. They are getting the Kingsbridge armory basically for free, plus getting all this extra money into their pockets.

Then Related wants slave labor as well!

anthony rivieccio said...

if one really wants to help eliminate poverty-if the mediunm nyc income avg is $50,000 a year and we are talking nyc living wage proposals-then $16 per hour-full time-including paid lunch-and possible benefits should be included

now.........wheres our schoolssssssss

GAX in the Bronx said...

it's unfair to compare one-to-one what morton williams pays its employees vs. what a living wage would be at the armory because of the tax breaks given to related. it's just not an even playing field.

further, shouldn't the acceptance of those tax breaks come along with it a greater responsibility to the local community? isn't that what the public is paying for?

it's instructive to note that when those tax breaks were being considered, i and others said that the process was wrong. once those tax breaks were granted, most all leverage on the living wage and other CBA issues was lost. had they held approval of the tax breaks until the CBA was done, we might very well be further ahead on this than we are now and the community also might have been in a better position to have its agendas met.

Guywithacause said...

Unfortunately Morton Williams is now having employees post on this site. Please do not be confused by their personal attacks of "I am an aweful person" and "they feel sorry for me", and don't believe for a second that Related is in bed with politicians and Morton Williams is not. This is more of the smoke and mirrors tacticts..so let's keep this focused on issues, and not personal attacks and lies: Are we AS A COMMUNITY better off with MORE choices and competition, or LESS? And let's reverse the argument, do you believe Morton Williams "loves" competition, or prefers to have a monopoly so they can dictate prices, wages, and services? Keep your eyes focused on issues and facts.

And let's discuss a few other things further:

1-Morton Williams claims the city is purposelly trying to "put them out of business." FALSE. This is more of the smoke and mirrors to confuse you. The city recognizes the lack of services/options in the community and is taking an active role in helping make the community BETTER by meeting a need. Just because you have 10 bodegas selling the same things for the same prices does not mean you have choice or competition..although Morton Williams would have you think so. Morton Williams is simply trying to position themselves as some sort of victim by the "evil city." (remember, they will use whatever lie/accusation hoping it will stick). The ONLY victim here is the community being held hostage by ONE small business who doesn't want any competition. WE are the victims, because WE are not able to get any other CHOICES in the community....we lose...Morton Williams wins.

2-What has Morton Williams done for the community? Besides offering low wage, dead-end jobs, killing competition/choices, and sucking out the wealth from the community, can ANYONE tell us what Morton Wiliams has done? The answer would be NOTHING. They have been here for 50 years exploiting the community, NOT investing in the infrastructure, NOT providing ANY services to the community, NOT even "adopting a street" and keeping it clean/planting flowers/beautification of anything. NOTHING. What an absolute waste of 50 years, and the fact that they have been here 50 years and have done nothing is very telling about their interest in the community..$$$$.

3-The Kingsbridge Armory is alot like the Gateway Center in the Bronx, it was an underutilized site/eyesore that was transformed to serve the community with numerous retailing options including a supermarket in Target AND a HUGE BJs. And what was the result? Did a host of local supermarkets go out of business? Nope. Did the entire area lose other small businesses as a result? Nope..not one. The reality is the community has enjoyed the new options and services, and can now shop for items that were NEVER available before, and were sorely lacking in the community. The community can now make all its purchases locally, instead of going out of the borough, and can enjoy the same services/amenities/products that the rest of the country already has. Furthermore, the new Gateway Center has brought other people to the area to shop (before there was no reason to), which has provided the smaller businesses with MORE OPPORTUNITY to do business. More people are coming...the higher potential for business. So there is no need to guess and wonder what a new supermarket will mean to the area because we already know the new choices and amenities/products/retailers benefits the community and residents as a whole. Don't believe the lies and scare tacticts of Morton Williams, just visit the Gateway Center, speak to the community members, and see all the benefits for yourself of having choice and competition. (contd)

Guywithacause said...

It is a shame that the Southern Bronx recognized all of the benefits of having supermarket CHOICES in the area, and Morton Williams is SINGLE HANDEDLY keeping choice and competition out at the expense of the community.

Morton Williams is literally grinding this entire process to a halt for its own selfish interests, and is waging a calculated campaign of deception to kill any competition. Morton Williams could care less about the community, about traffic, about "the original RFP", they ONLY care about their monopoly and killing competition. The "outrage" and "protests" against the new supermarket are 100% manufactured by Morton Williams, and in fact, Morton Williams has TOLD its employees that they either get out and protest or they will be out of jobs...more of the same fear tactics.

As I have stated, do not be fooled by their campaign of deception, keep your eyes focused on this simple question: Are we AS A COMMUNITY better off with MORE choices and competition, or LESS? And let's reverse the argument, do you believe Morton Williams "loves" competition, or prefers to have a monopoly so they can dictate prices, wages, and services?

Guywithacause said...

GAX I totally agree with you on that. However, what we are discussing here is NOT what is in the best interest for the community. This whole redevelopment has been hijacked and distorted by Morton Williams SOLELY because the don't want competition. The community NEEDS choices, competition, they NEED options, and having a large supermarket with a variety of items/services/products that are NOT available in the community is crucial. The community's needs have been shelved and Morton William's interests are front and center. Why is that? When did the entire community take a backseat to the profits of Moron Williams. Its utterly sickening.

GAX in the Bronx said...

well, perhaps if leadership is clever (and we can never count on that!), then we can come to some compromise solution that requires greater food choices and community involvement by morton williams.

however, as i posted on the BNN, one of the problems is that if the EIS that should be giving us a real picture of the affect of this project on things like traffic and local development is like others we've had in the past, then it's simply a fraudulent advocacy on behalf of the private interest involved.

as a result we now have community people shouting at each other over blogs and unfortunately, those who will actually be making the decisions have phony studies on which to base their decisions.

Guywithacause said...

Gax I agree that this has devolved into an unnecessary and tragic circumstance. However, it should be noted that the reason this whole process has deteriorated is due SOLELY to Morton Williams and their hijacking of the normal process. Everything was going well until there was the HINT of competition, at which point Morton Williams went into full smear mode, complete with fake protesters, misinformation, and purposeful deceit. They have put on a grandiose show all to keep their profits high, not to benefit the community, but to hurt it.

Had this process not been hijacked by Morton Williams, we would be having a substantive debate about the real issues facing the community, the impact of the new development, and the benefits. Instead, the entire process has been halted, Morton Williams is corrupting the process with misinformation, physical violence, and manufactured outrage outside the Armory.

Until the community board steps up and stifles the rhetoric from Morton Williams, as well as focuses on the real issued facing the community, we will continue down this poisonous path, which is exactly what Morton Williams wants.

Boogiedowner said...

Gax,
I respect your opinion and your work, but I'm not sure how killing a supermarket benefits the community. Living wage aside, what benefit is it to the community to kill the supermarket? I brought up living wage just to highlight MW's hypocrisy here.
Aside from the EIS, which was an after thought of MW's argument, I still can't fathom why people want to support a supermarket monopoly in Kingdbridge. If Related gave money to City Council members I'm sure everyone would cry bloody murder, but when MW buys and pays for Bronx City Council members, hires fancy consultants, and wages a war of misinformation there is not a peep of dissent from the anti-development voices. It makes no sense.

GAX in the Bronx said...

"If Related gave money to City Council members" If? it's a matter of public record. quite.

Boogiedowner said...

Why no outrage at MW's doing the same? (Also a matter of public record).

It's very strange to come to the defense of a corporate, money-making, free market business like MW, but to decry a money-making and free market competitor. I am not speaking of Related here, but of Morton Williams, which has stolen the debate for itself.

Guywithacause said...

Agreed Boogiedowner. This whole proces has been halted and the entire community is held hostage due to a SINGLE business, Morton Williams. It is mind boggling that they can exert so much control so as to block the entire redevelopment of the Armory and stifle any growth that they deem unworthy or competition. How can we as community members allow the growth and improvement of the community to be dictated by Morton Williams and not by the residents themselves? Furthermore, how can we move this debate back to the community's needs and NOT Morton Williams profits?

Anonymous said...

Hey Gax

Councilwoman Maria Baez received campaign funding from Morton Williams, shortly after MW donation to her campaign she announced her support for Williams,

GAX in the Bronx said...

does that say more about maria baez or morton?

my point was a simple reaction to "if" on whether related made contributions..

EVERYONE with an interest in something gives money. it depends what influence the representative allows it to have... as in Gateway, too.

but again, i was reacting to the "if" regarding related.

janeblaz71 said...

this post...and all of the comments ... was just awesome.

its good to see there are people in the bronx who care about each other and the less fortunate.

gives a girl hope, actually.