Monday, December 14, 2009

R.I.P. 'Shops at the Armory' (and 2,200 jobs along with it...)

As you probably already know, the City Council has officially voted down Related's proposal to redevelop the Armory.

Here is a photo of the Armory as I passed it this morning, and this is how it shall remain for the foreseeable future: an empty, stagnant, rotting corpse.

Click here to read Crain's NY's coverage, which is aptly titled, "City Council to kill plan for 2,200 Bronx jobs."



Guywithacause said...

I would like to personally thank Ruben Diaz and Morton Williams. Without them, the death of the Armory would not be possible.

This is truly a sad day for the Bronx, and the Kingsbridge community in particular. But I am in no way a sore loser. I would like to congratulate Morton Williams, and the other "local" businesses, that worked so hard to kill this deal. Who knew some hefty donations to the right politicians and phony protests would kill the entire deal.

But hey, when you look at the bigger picture, did we really need jobs? A supermarket? some shopping options? community space? a beautiful new Armory? Heck no...we have to keep in mind what is really important this holiday season: Morton Williams' profits.

And for that I am grateful, because thanks to Ruben Diaz's hard work and committment to these "local" businesses, they have just announced that their executives will be getting a great christmas bonus! This will bode well for the economy in the Westchester communities in which they reside.

Holiday miracles do happen, just not for the Bronx and its residents.

Anonymous said...

Meh. It's a bad year to ask for public money to help line the pockets of a private concern.

And this is the nut sentence in the HuffPo piece:

"If a living wage requirement would sink the Kingsbridge Armory project despite a large public subsidy, elected leaders should question whether the project is sufficiently sound to merit public resources in the first place."

Yup.These are crappy, go-nowhere, poverty-level jobs even with a "living wage" requirement. I feel bad for the folks in the neighborhood, but this wasn't the answer.

Guywithacause said...

Anonymous (you should really work on getting a name, any name will do) if you believe this whole exercise was simply a scheme to line the pockets of a private entity, then you have no idea of what the community has been working towards for almost 2 decades.

Will Related stand to benefit from this deal. YES. Why shouldn't they? Will the community stand to benefit much more. YES..which was the goal. But you are right, these are crappy jobs with crappy wages even with a "living wage" requirement.

The bottom line is this: If you are looking for a "single" answer/solution to the problems of the community, this wasn't it. But it was NEVER intended to solve anything besides rehabbing the Armory, providing useful amenities for the community, jobs for the community, and moving the community forward (yes this was progress), all of which it would have achieved. This was never about solving the social ills of the Bronx or the community, but it was billed that way by a small group because it ensured failure.

What you, and the HuffPost, failed to realize is that despite the subsidy from the city (and by the way, NOBODY else was interested in this site even with the "large" subsidy), ultimately Tenants would NOT sign on if they are required to pay XXX amount of money (whatever dollar they decide at the end of the day).

You expect Related to then subsidize the thousands of employees of OTHER companies indefinitely? That is just foolish, and it makes businesses, including Related, NOT want to do business in the city. They can just as easily open just outside of NYC, on the Westchester side, and be just as profitable, if not moreso, and Bronx shoppers are forced to either travel further or continue living without the basic amenities that most other people in NYC, and across the country, have.

You should feel bad for the folks in the community, because they were scammed by a small group of elitist pigs looking to make themselves even richer off the backs of the community. And the politicians worked hand in hand with these pigs to kills this deal.

Nice job Rubencito.

Anonymous said...

Too many pigs at the trough, and nobody eats, nuff said.

margaretBX said...

I'll write more later, but just two thoughts right now: The Armory isn't "rotting" as it was for a long time, because the NWBCCC and some local pols pushed to get the roof replaced. So the building has been protected from the elements.

And "Guy with a cause", Shops at the Armory is not what the community has been working for for 12 or more years. We developed a great vision of how the Armory could have provided space for 4 schools, including shared recreational space that would also be available to the larger community, some space for community orgs, stores, and a movie theater. We would have gotten only one of those things out of this -- stores. Sometimes, going back to the drawing board is a good thing.

margaretBX said...

Oh, and see BronxTalk tonight. Gary Axelbank will be having guests on to talk about today's events (and you know you can call in). 9 p.m. on Channel 67.

Boogiedowner said...

Yep, we'll be watching tonight (and calling)...Thanks Margaret!

margaretBX said...

Nothing could matter to me less, really, than the opinion of Crain's on the Armory. Crain's does not care about jobs. It does not care about the Bronx. They care about companies like Related. They are not upset that people will not be working in the Armory in 3 years. They are annoyed that a group of noisy people in the Bronx prevented their buddies at Related from closing another deal.

I've enjoyed the growth of some new shopping opportunities in the Bronx in the last few years. I'm glad there's a Target and a Starbucks near us. I love grocery shopping at Garden Gourmet and at the new improved Foodtown (check it out) on Broadway. But I know the number of those opportunities I have are limited by the buying power of my neighbors -- so I want my neighbors to be making more money.

Anonymous said...

Living wage jobs would have been great, but wouldn't 2200 minimum wage jobs have been better than no jobs at all?

Ryan said...

Our neighborhood and the Bronx have lost all around; how will an empty building improve the neighborhood?

I'm convinced this development would have raised property values, which in turn would have led to better schools. Education would help lead people to better jobs. In the meantime 1200 minimum-wage jobs would be great until people found something better! And our neighborhood would have more shopping choices.

Guywithacause said...

Margaret let's not twist facts here. Yes originally the community wanted the Armory as just all new schools, but they realized EARLY ON that this was not feasible, nor the best use for the site so it was abandoned by EVERYONE years ago. The survey by NYC also found the site to be insufficient for light/airflow so the schools would not be allowed. As someone that was supposedly involved in this process, you should have known this. It had nothing to do with Related.

The community NOW wanted amenities to serve the population, INCLUDING a supermarket,as well as community space, which they would have gotten. Haven't you wondered why a supermarket, which was demanded by the COMMUNITY from the getgo, was shelved?

I can tell you why, because, as Crain's pointed out, a small group of self-serving loudmouths worked to protect their profits and their own best interests, at the expense of the community. The "community outrage" was all staged by this small group, and worked hand in hand with the grandstanding idiocy of our Borough President and Democratic lackies.

Margaret, if you want the buying power of your neighbors to increase, and subsequently increase the number of amenities in your neighborhood as well as attract better quality jobs, the answer is NOT extorting an $11 per hour job from a business, it is GETTING AN EDUCATION, and acquiring the skills necessary to earn a higher wage. ONLY THEN will the amenities and better quality jobs enter our community because that is where the talent pool/disposable income is.

Businesses will NOT relocate to the community just to be extorted, they will relocate when the talent pool/earnings are there. It is the job of your elected officials to provide the resources and opportunities for you to gain these skills and education, and to then entice those businesses to your community. It is NOT the job of elected officials to shame companies publicly because it's politically popular, extort money from them, or work for the interests of a few local businesses that donate to their campaign. And that is exactly what happened here and why this deal died.

Your elected officials are doing a wonderful job of assigning all of the Bronx's, and this community's, decades of social ills on Related. This project was NEVER meant to solve the world's problems, it was meant to improve the community, which is exactly what it would have done. But those few loudmouths corrupted the negotiations so as to kill this deal, and they succeeded.

MargaretBx said...

Dear Guy,

I am not twisting facts; you may have a few wrong though.

I didn't blame related for there not being schools at the Armory. That was Giuliani's (bad) decision. The community did not "realize" that schools wouldn't work there; we simply had to deal with the fact that the City put out an RFP that didn't allow for schools.

The RFP also said that the stores in the Armory should complement and not directly compete with the neighboring stores. The community board did advocate a supermarket in the Armory; to the best of my knowledge that was after the RFP.

The one fact on which I misspoke was that there was some community space in the armory -- 20 or 25,000 square feet.

I do think, overall, we can do better, and I invite you to join with us in developing a new plan for the Armory.

We can talk about education leading to better income levels; since I teach at a college I think I have that argument pretty well down. But someone will still be working at the cashier when you go shopping at Target, and I think it is only fair that that person be able to pay her bills.

Guywithacause said...

I agree that someone who works as a cashier should be able to pay their bills. Where we differ is:

1- Assigning the blame for them not being able to pay their bills on Related, or some other outside entity.

2-Trying to pose the argument that unless a job can support a family then it is not a job "worth" having.

3-Realizing that not every job is a lifetime commitment, and there are many that are stepping stones. If you CHOOSE to work your entire life as a cashier, why are you suprised that you are poor, or cannot support a family. This job is not meant to raise a family, afford you a mansion, 3 cars, and vacations to Europe. It is a STEPPING stone, and a way to earn money so you can gain experience and then get a better job, work while you go to school, or supplement your income.

We now have the mentality of "I would rather sit at home and do nothing/collect welfare/live with my parents than EARN $8 per hour. I am too good for that." Is that attitude helping our community and our young people? I believe you deserve more also, but you must EARN it and WORK for it. When did this fact become lost?

So instead of having jobs that will give all types of people (young/old, new to the work force/retired, etc)the opportunity to earn money, gain experience, pay for school, supplement their incomes, etc, we now have NO jobs, NO opportunities, and NO income. How is this a "win" for the community? If this community were Beverly Hills then it would be moot, but our community NEEDS opportunities and some stepping stones, and now they are gone, maybe for good.

It was you that said $11 is perferable to $7, but with this deal now dead, I believe those people desperate for jobs realize that $7 was ALWAYS better than ZERO. The lesson learned today, however, is that unless a job is "good enough" for me, I will just chill at home cuz I ain't no where's my check.

and justice for all said...

@ guywithacause

"Margaret, if you want the buying power of your neighbors to increase, and subsequently increase the number of amenities in your neighborhood as well as attract better quality jobs, the answer is NOT extorting an $11 per hour job from a business, it is GETTING AN EDUCATION, and acquiring the skills necessary to earn a higher wage. ONLY THEN will the amenities and better quality jobs enter our community because that is where the talent pool/disposable income is."

Please do tell where the impoverished residents of the Bronx can sign up to "get an education" that would allow them to collect $10 to $11.50 an hour as adults. Have you been to a Bronx school that is not located in Riverdale lately? They didnt exist in the 80's and they do not exist now. Why not look into the dismantling of Brown v. Board of Ed while you wax philisophical about HOW poor people should conduct themselves in a society controlled by billionaires like the Bloombergs, the Roth's and the Murdochs who benefit the most by exploiting residents in impoverished neighborhoods.

What part of the picture are you not seeing? Bloomberg was going to sell a TAX PAYER owner structure and the property to his FRIEND for a mere 5 million dollars - despite the fact that the property had an assessed value of over 20 million dollars. Roth and his Related people would have received 117 million in tax breaks and incentives (like the 30 million of tax payer money spent on repairing the armory in 2003). The Private Corporation wanted to receive PUBLIC BENEFITS without providing any BENEFITS to the community. The more a person earns,the more a taxes he or she will pay. Are you serious with your blanket assertions regarding the habits of the impoverished? Do you really think that people living below the poverty level say "nah, I'd rather sit home and collect welfare instead of getting a job". What about the parents who have to pay babysitters and car fare getting to and from work. I guess the part time minimum wage paying job would cover that, rent, food and the light bill, huh?

Tax breaks for multi-billion dollar corporations are a larger scale form of WELFARE. Please, stop talking so much trash about people whose plight you cannot comprehend for five minutes of your bitter, twisted, racist life. I grew up on University Avenue between 183rd and Fordham Road...I've been in the trenches of poverty and I had to claw my way out...not once did it ever occur to me that I shouldnt look back and remember where I came from to help other people trying to get out of the same predicament I once was in.

If $3.75 more in wages per hour was enough to frighten Related away, then they had no business circling the Armory in the first place. Do we really need another old navy or footlocker in the Bronx. Hell no. We need living wage paying jobs.

If the greedy bastards on Wall Street can get a helping hand to get back on their feet, so can the people of the Bronx.

It is most unfortunate that you are so out of touch with the plight of other human beings...but I am really not surprised.

And for the record, I don't give a fat babies ass about Morton Williams. I shop at Stew Leonard...I get there by bus. Stew, there's a guy who takes care of his employees.

THE JaneBlaz

Guywithacause said...

Jane I think you made some valid points, some of which I wholeheartedly agree with. Here are my comments:

1-I agree that our society is controlled by the wealthy/educated/connected. When has this not been the case? At its inception maybe. We live in a gigantic pyramid scheme that can only be sustained so long as we have a flow of poor/immigrants coming in at the bottom, so others can move up. You have also benefitted from the poor as well, or rather those "beneath you", it just so happens those at the very top benefit the most. But don't be fooled, we are ALL benefitting in one way or another. This is nothing new or enlightening.

2-ALL Bronx resident can get a FREE education from kindergarten to HS, and since we are talking specifically about the poor, they essentially can get a free education for college. That is the most direct and EASIEST way to REMOVE YOURSELF from poverty, and earn an income that can support yourself AND a family. How is that fact not apparent to you? Did you not hear about the honorable Sotomayor's achievements from "rags to riches?" There is nothing special about her, except of course she decided to EARN and WORK for what she wanted, instead of blaming others for her plight. When did this become lost on our society?

2-It would have been easy for me to blame the world for my problems and simply "give up." Why bother? The world is ruled by the wealthy and I am just a peon..poor me. I will just sit on my butt, collect a check, and blame the world. Clearly that is the right answer! Don't you feel sorry for me? Good, now give me more money! I deserve it.

3-I am painfully aware of the BIGGER picture that you are NOT SEEING. This deal was going to pass UNTIL the "local" businesses (or rather their profits) felt remotely threatened, at which point they CHANGED the debate to focus on NOT what the community wants, but what THEY want. The community WANTED a supermarket, as did the city council, community board, etc. So why would it be removed from the development? The "local" businesses crafted the "living wage" requirement, which was NEVER part of the deal over the past 20 years, so that it will A: either kill deal or B: make any business that did move to the Armory too expensive to compete in the area. Both of these secured the profits of Morton Williams and the other "local" businesses. THIS is why the deal died, and NO OTHER REASON. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

Guywithacause said...

4-Unfortunately, I am QUITE SERIOUS that people below the poverty line would rather sit home and do nothing and collect a check. In fact, it was JUST PROVEN by the death of this deal. Their whole argument was simple: If I can't get the wage that I feel I deserve, regardless of what education or skills I have, then I rather have no job at all. Hence, the death of this deal. The "win" that the Bronx cast of characters will now try to convince you is that this is a "win" for the Bronx, because somehow, NO job is better than A JOB. And you should not "settle" for an $8 per hour job, because you are "better" than that. You "deserve" XXX amount per hour, and unless you get that, you should stay home and get a check. What other lesson have we learned?
Oh that's right, Related is evil, they are trying to take advantage of us, and they are to blame for the Bronx's generational poverty, high crime, out of wed babys, and bad perms.

5-I agree that corporations receive MASSIVE amounts of welfare. And it should be stopped. We are not talking about that right now but I would be happy to. Are you simply posing the argument that they get alot of welfare so we should too? How about NOBODY gets welfare and ywe get off our a$$es and WORK, EARN and SACRIFICE for what we want. How come we don't talk about that?

5-I agree that we need higher paying jobs. but in order to get higher paying jobs, WE NEED A BETTER EDUCATED, HIGHLY SKILLED WORKFORCE THAT WILL ATTRACT THOSE JOBS. You are putting the cart in front of the horse and playing the blame game. Do you go to Mcdonald's to get a filet mignon? NO. Why not? Because they don't offer it. Why doesn't Goldman Sachs recruit from Hunts Point for its senior positions? Because that is not where you find individuals with the education/credentials/skills for the position. Now if that level of candidates moved/lived in Hunts Point, guess where Goldman Sachs would be stopping by to visit? That's right!

So if you want better paying jobs for the community, you must have a community with the skills and education to EARN those salaries and positions, and to attract those companies. Why is this concept oblivious to you? Because you feel you "deserve" XYZ does not mean you will get it or are entitled to it. Which is why this deal died, and now there are NO jobs, NO opportunities, and NO incomes.

6-I applaud you for clawing your way out of poverty. Congratulations, that's typically how it's done. And these jobs at the Armory would have also been a stepping stone for many people to also claw their way out of povetry as well. It would have provided income to many who had none, it would have provided employment to those who had none, it would have provided experience for people that had none. Would it have been ideal? Nope. Would it have supoprted a family of 4. Nope. Would it have given people the OPPORTUNITY to move forward. The answer is YES.

7-And finally, there is nothing racist about knowing that this deal died because of a few special interests at the expense of the community. There is nothing racist about trying to change the attitude that you "deserve" XYZ and unless you get that, you should stay home and get a check. There is nothing racist about telling people you have to WORK, EARN, AND SACRIFICE for the things you want, including clawing your way out of poverty. There is nothing racist about telling people life is not fair, and you make work hard and do everything right and still not get ahead. There is nothing racist about telling people that if you want a "livable wage" that you need to stay in school, go ALL the way, and acquire the skills that will enable you to EARN a "livable wage." It is a gross abuse of the word "racist", and in fact it is such abuse and ignorance of that word that has now made it meaningless and the go-to accusation for those with no-point, or those trying to bully/shame you into submission.

and justice for all said...

@guy with a cause: I am going to answer to each of your points.

1. I am glad you agree. But while you say I "benefit" from the poor, I advocate FOR the poor. Read Confessions of an Economic Hitman. What our government does to third world LDC's is the same thing our government did with the subprime mortgage/credit crisis.

2. All Bronx can get a FREE education...right...with 35 kids jammed into every classroom...unless you live in RIVERDALE, of course, because RIVERDALE is not part of the Bronx. How many seats are there in the job market for folks making over $10 an hour? Seems to me that a whole lot of folks are unemployed in this country. Bump what you heard, guy, they arent including college graduates and folks trying to get off welfare in the national unemployment numbers. And exactly HOW MUCH of an education does one need to fold clothes and measure a persons shoe size and clea floors? Because there are only so many jobs that pay upwards of $30,000 per year, guy, or didnt you know that? And since the mulitmillion dollar corporations are moving American jobs to the Phillipines and Mumbai and various other less than minimum wage paying countries, where exactly are OUR poor supposed to seek work? And I've got news for you, guy, there is only so much aid one can get and there are only so many people who can actually LEARN in a chaotic environment. You cannot possibly believe that EVERYONE can GET AND EDUCATION in the overcrowded less than stellar FREE Public School system that Bloomberg & Co. boast about. The schools SUCK, my kids go to them, I know what I am talking about. I work full time and I am working on a masters degree right now. When I come home, I actually have to TEACH my kids what they aren't LEARNING in school. Fall back with your assertion that a FREE education is the way out. Its not. END OF STORY.

3. You'd be surprised at how many people want nothing more than to regain the dignity the welfare system has stripped from them. Just like there are a select few BILLIONAIRES who give, there are a select few POOR folks who TAKE without a care in the world. Why stress out when there arent enough jobs. Perhaps it would be better if the "poors" went around killing each other off? What arent you seeing? Please do point me in the direction of the utopia that is free from crime, unemployment and failing school systems...please do...because I would like to lead my people to this promised land.

4. There is no BIGGER picture than a bunch of billionaires dragging their bulldozers and scaffolds to the 16th Congressional District of the United States of America - DECLARED THE NATIONS POOREST DISTRICT IN 2000 - to exploit the poor and hungry and nearly homeless residents of that district with an offer to employ 1200 of those folks with part time minimum wage paying jobs. Where is the justice in allowing private Corporations to benefit from receiving public money without providing a public benefit? Like I said, I am not a fan of Morton Williams and C-Town is like one big bodega. A Costco would have been PERFECT...but not everyone was on board with the living wage provision. Perhaps if a militiary museum were part of the deal, or a museum of bronx history, more people would visit for things other than a new pair of Jordans. Whole Foods should have been part of the equation, perhaps even a Trader Joe's. This isnt the end. A better developer will come along, and I have faith that the developer will listen to the concerns of the community. As far as I am concerned, Morton Williams and C-Town can kiss my Irish ass. They are overpriced dens of filth and botulism.

and justice for all said...

5. See, I take offense to that comment. But I'll just remid myself where its coming from. You're like a sheet of glass from the statements you made in this answer. People who live in poverty don't want to sit around all day and do nothing. People want to work and be productive, but, like I said, when there arent enough jobs to go around or when the jobs arent going to pay enough to pay the babysitter, well, you're kind of stuck. Wow, you seem really bitter. The death of this "deal" proved that democracy is a powerful weapon against exploitation. Bobby Kennedy had a completely different opinion about poverty in our nation than you do. You should read about him. It might help ease your bitterness and resentment for the "poors".

6. Corporations receive more welfare than the poor. BILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE. And it wont be stopped. No, actually. I am not as simple as you would like me to be. Its rather hypocritical for Bloomie to want to sell a historical piece of tax payer owned property to his friend Roth for more than 15 million dollars less than the assessed value, and then say he isnt in the business of enforcing wages. Bloomie is over in Copehagen coming apart at the seems. ound by a vote of 45 to 1. Must have been a bitter pill for him to swallow to know that the deal he arranged for his friend was stomped out by a vote of 45 to 1. Like I said, people want to work. When you find a job for every man and woman on welfare, let me know. I, personally, believe EVERY AMERICAN deserves a job making AT LEAST $10 per hour. EVERY AMERICAN. If you don't, well, you must not like your fellow Americans too much either. Perhaps that’s something you SHOULD talk about…the failing school systems and lack of jobs available to recent graduates would be a nice place to start. Ever watch the episode of Oprah where Bill Gates does a tour of Washington, D.C. schools?

***by the way... I've been employed by one of the largest corporations who gladly accepted TARP money for the past 12 years...been on Wall Street for quite some time as a matter of fact...lost a heck of a lot of my savings thanks to people who sit on their a$$e$ all day and come up with new and improved ways to make more money at the expense of everyone else. Seems like people on welfare have more of a conscience than the folks who nearly destroyed our economy.

7. The highly skilled jobs are going over to Mumbai, and down to the Philippines among other places. Those include customer service, telecommunications, and technology positions. American greed at its finest. Think its a coincidence there are so many people sitting around collecting welfare? Think the government doesnt encourage this behavior by allowing corporations to employ people overseas? Hmmmm. I wouldnt go to McDonalds...their food can kill you...but if you take a look around the Bronx, you'll find a McDonalds in every ghetto...with a 1/2 dozen liquor stores nearby. Why? Open up your eyes. There isnt ONE McDonalds in Riverdale, guy. Why is that? Playing the blame game? Not at all. FACTS are FACTS. And I suppose the people who live in Hunts Point were all able to go to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU, right? Goldman is very selective about the candidates they choose. And, like I said, where is all this money you speak of for college??? I didnt get any. Not a dime. I had to wait until I was an adult to go back to school. Your argument doesnt hold up. And back the eff off of Hunts Point guy. They are a proud people. Unless you want to stand down in the Point on a soapbox ,with a megaphone and talke smack...dont talk smack hiding behind a blog. Get out there and motivate the people you despise.

and justice for all said...

8. No concept on God's green earth is oblivious to me. But your IGNORANCE is painfully OBVIOUS. You have CHOSEN to IGNORE the FACTS. There arent enough jobs to go around. PERIOD. Offering minimum wage paying part time jobs to impoverished people is not a solution. Its the equivalent of smacking a bandaid over the gaping wound of a hemophiliac. You seem to think its over. Boo-Hoo. Its not over. Another developer will step forward and step up.

I am not sure what you dont understand about the following:
IF YOU PAY A WELFARE RECIPIENT MINIMUM WAGE FOR A PART TIME JOB...THAT WELFARE RECIPIENT WILL CONTINUE TO BE A WELFARE RECIPIENT...Section 8, public assistance, food stamps...the taxpayer will continue to subsidize these so called people who love nothing more to sit on their a$$e$ all day. If that makes sense to you, congratulations, you are the rest of your ilk who are prejudiced against the "poors".

Nah, it wouldnt have moved anyone forward...more like perpetuated the cycle of poverty. NEXT OFFER PLEASE!

And yes, you're a racist...because in your mind, you think that brown skinned people (the vast majority of people who reside in the 16th Congressional District are BROWN SKINNED...please do not act like you didnt know this, it would make you look even more assine) want to sit around all damn day and not do a gottdamn thing to improve their circumstances...then you want to bitch and moan about how the poors havent earned the "right" to make $10 - $11.50 an hour??? That a person has to be "skilled" and "highly qualified" to earn $10 - $11.50 per hour? That no one is deserving of earning $10 - $11.50 per hour unless they are educated? GTFOH with that bulls#i+ guy. You are so transparently racist...

It hurts to lose, doesnt it? Not used to it are you? Too bad.

Neither are the boys down at Tishman Speyer...

Guywithacause said...

Okay here we go:

1-You may advocate for the poor, as do I, but you also benefit whether you want to admit it/realize it or not. That is not a fault of yours, it is the design of the system that we are all a part of it. Believe it. Is it right? Nope.

2-Yup FREE education. Is it perfect? Nope. There are years-long of waiting lists of immigrants to come to this country, and too many die trying to get here illegally for the access to that FREE education that you are poo-pooing. Is it perfect? Nope. Can it be better? Yup. We should work towards making it better and we are. Is it an opportunity to get an education and improve yourself. YES. You can complain about a failing education system, and I would agree with you. But it is better than NO education or a PAY-YOUR-OWN system. Wouldn't you agree? Or would you prefer to pay out of pocket? If so, you can do that now. I believe that EVERYONE can get an education IF THEY WANT ONE, FOR FREE. Blaming Riverdale residents because they are wealthier than you is just more of the blame game nonsense. I am glad the Honorable Sotomayor, and countless others, did not waste their time with those self-defeating, tired excuses and took action to improve themselves via a FREE public education.

3-I agree that there are plenty of poor that want to work and regain their dignity. But the lesson that is being promoted to the Bronx, and the city, is horrendous: "We rather stay home, not work, and collect a check than work for $8 per hour. We are better than that and deserve more, regardless of what skills/education/experience we have/don't have." If that is what your elected leaders want to teach our kids and instill on our community, why are you suprised they are failing in school? Don't go to school, don't learn, don't even work, unless you get whatever it is you feel you deserve. Nice job Ruben Ramos!

4-In the same paragraph you site the evils of corporate America, remind us (as if we need a reminder) that the Bronx is home to the poorest congressional district, good 'old #16, then you say a WHOLE FOODS should have been part of the equation? A WHOLE FOODS? IN THE POOREST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN THE US? REALLY? The community has been yearning to pay $8 for a boneless/skinless/organic chicken breast? I guess I missed that meeting. You have no concept of business, nor of what the community wanted. A WHOLE FOODS! HA! The public benefit that would have been created is the DEVELOPMENT of an abandoned building into retail and amenities that would be useful and sorely needed in the community + jobs to boot. If that is not a public benefit, I don't know what is! WHICH IS WHY THE COMMUNITY BOARD GAVE THIS PROJECT ITS APPROVAL. Have you forgotten that point? I do agree that a museum or other such amenities would be useful, and would have been included had this project not been hijacked. I am sorry to inform you, however, the better developer WOULD HAVE SHOWN UP ALREADY. Your elected leaders have led you down a false path..there is no plan B, there is no other developer waiting in the wings. Well not for another 10 years that is, and of course with no "living wage" requirement. Let's see how Rubencito "saves" the day...I am curious indeed.

Guywithacause said...

5- There are not enough high paying jobs to go around. We can't all be Doctors and Nasa scientists, I get that. But what's exactly is the problem with WORKING and EARNING a living, even if it isn't your "dream" wage? Why are you too good to work for $8 per hour when you have NO skills, NO education, and NO job? It is that attitude/lack of drive that drives too much poverty in the community, NOT a lack of high paying jobs. Working for $8 per hour is only a life sentence of poverty if you resign yourself to it. Everyone makes their choices and life ain't fair.

6-I believe everyone on welfare should be working also...and that in an ideal world everyone is able to be a productive citizen, whatever that may entail. Do I believe a mandated $10 per hour is the solution? I really don't care what number you want. Let's make $10 per hour the new minimum wage ACROSS THE BOARD, and not just apply it randomly to whomever. Will an extra $3 per hour solve the social ills like higher crime, high school drops outs, drug use, violence, and generational poverty in the community? NOPE. Why do you think it will? EMPOWERING people with knowledge, skills, and education is the only way to solve these problems, not giving them money, or convincing them they "deserve" something they did not earn. That EMPOWERMENT does not come from $10 per hour (or whatever number you say is "fair"), it comes from education and knowledge.

7-I am not happy about all the jobs going overseas, and I think Obama should be highly taxing/penalizing companies that move jobs overseas so that it nullifies any cost savings they may reap at the expense of the American worker. The reason why there are tons of 99 cent stores, McDonald's, Liquor stores, etc, is because THERE IS A DEMAND for them in these communities. Would you open up pork restaurant in a Hasidic community. NO? Why not? Because there is no demand for it! Unfortunately when you have such a poor community, you get low end-stores/retailers. This is called supply and demand. You are again putting the cart before the horse, and trying to blame society. When the education, skills, and workforce demand BETTER services/amenities/jobs, ONLY THEN will they come. Why is this hard for you to understand?

8-For the record, these jobs were not going to be part-time, nor do we know how many would be mimimum, but I am sure a significant number would be. The simple question that you are missing is this: This Armory redevelopment WAS NEVER INTENDED TO SOLVE THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS. Why do you keep insisting that it is Related's responsibility to "lift" the Bronx out of poverty? When was this ever part of the Armory redevelopment? It never was. The community simply wanted to do something with the site instead of wasting such a valuable resource. They were able to get alot of amenities and stores of which they otherwise would not have, nevermind the fact the building would be beautiful AND provide jobs for the community. Why is this about the Armory being the answer to poverty/high crime? It is not, never was, and never will be. The whole redevelopment has been twisted into something it could never be, and therefore doomed to failure, as we have seen. You want the answer to poverty and high crime? GO TO SCHOOL. EDUCATE YOURSELF. ACQUIRE HIGH PAYING SKILLS. WORK TO IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNITY, HELP EACHOTHER. The answer to the community's problems is not in the hands of Related or the Armory, so why do you keep thinking it is?

Guywithacause said...

Your accusations of racism and race baiting are better served amongst Al Sharpton and the like. Poverty knows no color, despite what you may think. The answer to society's ills is not race baiting, the blame-game, or $11 per hour, it is empowerment, education, and knowledge. We have the ability to acquire all of these assets simply by walking to a library, or going to school, or going online. You can choose to call me a racist, or that I somehow hate brown people, but that is just the usual smoke and mirrors. I am of the community, I am a person of color, and I work towards making my community better. This Armory redevelopment was a STEP to making the community better. It was not a solution to world peace, it was not a solution to end poverty in the Bronx, it was an opportunity to get amenities to an otherwise starved community, it was an opportunity to get jobs to people who don't have one, it was an opportunity to get experience to those that otherwise won't get any, and it was an opportunity to move the community forward. It was one step in that process, NOT the end result. Unfortunately, the Bronx, and this community, lost opportunity.

Gregory Lobo Jost said...

guy wrote:

"The reason why there are tons of 99 cent stores... is because THERE IS A DEMAND for them in these communities... Unfortunately when you have such a poor community, you get low end-stores/retailers."

I guess adding more minimum wage jobs isn't going to change the demand for low-end stores and retailers in the area. What if we had ended up with the world's largest 99 cent store at the armory?

and justice for all said...

yes, as a matter of fact I did say WHOLE FOODS. Why did I say WHOLE FOODS??? Because people would come down from the rolling hills of Riverdale to shop at a WHOLE FOODS in the Bronx rather than Westchester. Plenty of us in the Bronx shop at Whole Foods in Westchester and NYC...Trader Joes is just as good...we need more choices and the big bodegas are causing health problems for EVERYBODY...Stew Leonards is out of the way but at least I know the employees are being treated well.

You baited the race issue when you spoke ill of welfare recipients; when you made blanket statements regarding the impoverished residents of the Bronx; when you went on record to say that if people GOT AN EDUCATION they would be entitled to $10 or more per hour. You must not know a thing about Brown v. Board of Ed, the history of segregation in Yonkers and RIVERDALE, or the fact that Bloomberg & Klein overinflated school scores and dumbed down statewide tests to hide the fact that the DOE is failing students of color. This phenomenon doesnt apply to FREE schools on the upper west side, upper east side or anywhere else in NYC where the population consists of wealthy white folks...ALL of the failing schools are in predominantly Black and Hispanic areas in all five boroughs. Please do present me with any legitimate evidence you have to dispute the facts.

In the meantime, stop hating people who have less than you. Its bad for your health.

Ryan said...

Some questions I have:

1. Is there a precedent for the "living wage" requirement in New York City?

2. Was the Gateway Mall near Yankee Stadium, the Target complex in East Harlem, or the Marble Hill/Kingsbridge Target Development built using city funds/tax incentives?

Anonymous said...


1. There is a living wage law that applies to service contractors, but not the workplace at large. However, there are blanket living wage requirements in a large and growing number of US cities.

2. All of those projects received considerable tax breaks, subsidies, and incentives, especially the Gateway Center (the crummiest half-billion dollar structure on earth).

Keep in mind, though, that all of those projects were built on disused or abandoned industrial/commercial sites on the periphery of their respective neighborhoods, and they didn't involve a landmarked structure worth $20+ million that the city had recently already spent $30 million to renovate.

Ryan said...

Anonymous, thanks for the answers!

I'm still not sure why the nature of the Armory project would require jobs with more than minimum wage when these other projects did not. You mention geographical setting, the building's landmark nature and worth, and the city's significant investment in the building's structure.

But again, thanks for the information.

and justice for all said...

Living wage requirements = less people on welfare...

Not sure why so many undercover elitists have such a difficult time figuring out the equation.

Boogiedowner said...

Well, I'm not so sure that the extra $6,000/year or so would actually get people off of welfare.

Anonymous said...

Ryan, there's also this to consider: the Armory has a terrible location and parking situation for drivers, and it's in a not well-to-do neighborhood. I think it's highly unlikely that it would attract people from far outside the neighborhood (the notion that it would attract Westchester shoppers is almost laughable).

The retailers aren't stupid -- they'll research the demographics and traffic and nearby competition. I think the poster who made the comment about the Armory's potentially becoming the world's largest 99-cent store has it right.

And that very real prospect doesn't merit the use of $100+ million in taxpayer investment, imo. On the flip side, I realize that it's not a desirable spot for developers unless there are incentives. It's an unholy mess.

Ryan said...


I think the Armory has a fantastic location- right on the 4 train- 30 minutes north of Manhattan. The structure is unique in the city- the world? Many would come, and I think a large number of foreign tourists would as well. The Armory, as well as the Bronx at large, is a feature of New York City, and being such it's significance and attraction reaches far beyond local resident shoppers. Certainly even a parking garage could be built in the re-design.

As another issue in a possible future development proposal I think part of the Armory could anchor a specialized high-level work force, for example a New York center for the high-tech industry. Area students could benefit from internships, and the Bronx could be established as a place with more higher-paying jobs, as well as jobs in retail and restaurants that could be located in the same center, i. e. the Winter Garden. Just a thought...

Anonymous said...


Let me back up a second and explain that my impressions of the Gateway Center project (also Related) are informing my opinions on what might happen with the Armory.

The Gateway Center cost a staggering $500 million to build, and while it had some complications with its site, I am assuming it was a much "simpler" job than anything inside the Armory would be because of the landmarking issues and because of staging materials in a busy urban neighborhood.

And when you see what that $500 million buys you . . . it's sad. The Gateway Center is visually unappealing, it's poorly designed, it's unwelcoming. It's anything *but* a destination.

I don't think the Armory has a favorable location for car-based shoppers, even with the addition of a parking garage. I do agree that it is conveniently located for the subway line, but I don't think people will be willing to go there if the options in Harlem or the Gateway Center are closer.

Now, if you were talking about building a truly special and distinctive retail/historical destination, like Faneuil Hall, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Pike Place Market, etc., I think you'd be on to something. But again, I go back to that $500 Gateway Center and wonder how much it would cost to get it right at the Armory -- to build a place that would attract people not just from the Bronx and Manhattan and the tri-state, but from around the world.

$2 billion? Maybe 3? And then you get into the question of whether even *that* would be good for the neighborhood. Congestion would be a nightmare. The job issue would remain and most neighborhood people wouldn't be able to shop there anyway.

The Winter Garden/WFC is a totally different beast -- they've got the financial district workers as their demographic. I do like the idea of the Armory involving something with education and the arts, though.

Guywithacause said...

Some more of my comments:

1-Good luck getting a Whole Foods to the neighborhood. I would personally like it, but I suspect you will be booed off stage if you expect the Armory redevelopment to be catering to wealthy Riverdale and Westchester residents instead of local residents. This Armory redevelopment is for the community, not wealthy outside residents. Sounds like you may be the undercover elitist here.

2-I have never brought up the race issue, just poverty, which has no color. You accussed me of racism because I tell people: If you want to earn more than minimum wage, stay in school, get a full education, and acquire those skills that will EARN you a higher wage. How is this racisim? This is EMPOWERMENT and the ONLY way to eliminate the generational, entrenched, poverty that the Bronx has. You are welcome to continue playing the blame-game, but you are the only one that loses, and you end up with NO job, which is what happened with the collapse of the Armory redevelopment. Do we need to hold companies accountable? YES. But extorting whatever wage you feel you deserve is not the way to do that, as we have learned. Educating and empowering yourself is.

3-I am aware of the discrepancies in funding for NYC, and inner city schools, in general. This is part of the problem. But it is not THE problem. And laying blame, as you continue to do, ony serves to release you of your own responsibility to do what it takes to move forward. I get that some people have all the advantages, some people have all the connections, and some people "get everything." Welcome to the real ain't fair. Less whining, more reading/studying, and you will be amazed how quickly your circumstances can change.

4-I will never hate on people that have less than me, which is why I choose to stay in the community, because I have the ability to affect change and help. Playing the blame-game does a disservice to all those people you purport to help. They get enough of that from everyone around them. Holding them accountable, setting the bar high, and providing resources to achieve are the things they don't get enough of. While you are out playing the blame-game, I am trying to get JOBS so they have an opportunity to EARN, learn what a dollar means, responsibility, and experience. I want them to be able to GROW in their own community with the resources, amenities and services necessary to do that, so they don't have to leave. And the Armory redevelopment was one STEP towards that, and it may be gone forever...and with it those opportunities.

5-Adding more low wage jobs doesn't change the game for the community. But it is a positive STEP when there ARE NO JOBS. This Armory redevelopment is not the SOLUTION to the community's problems, and never was intended to be! It is ONE way to improve the community, and that is exactly what it would have done. If the largest 99 cents store in the country/world opened there...that would be something noteworthy..and would probably bring LOTS of people from all over to see it/shop there. Ain't such a bad thing to me...

and justice for all said...

@Boogie Downer:
hmmmm. dont think so? I do.

two adults, making $10 per hour, 40 hours a week, 4 weeks a month. 3200gross per month. Its a helluva good start as opposed to $7.25 per hour.

I guess minimum wage would be better, this way they can stay on welfare?

I beg to differ. I was a recopient of public assistance for six months after my son died in 1998. the process was dehumanizing. I didnt qualify for unemployment because I quit my job. As soon as I was able to mourn properly, I went right back to work. I was making $52,000 per year supporting two remaining sons. I saw the faces in the waiting rooms, I saw the condescending manner in which the social workers spoke to people in need in an attempt to drive them away.

$3.75 more per hour is a step in the right direction.

but we can certainly agree to disagree. I've seen what poverty can do to people...the key word here is in human beings. Compassion seems to be absent in some folks. Hatred fills in that void.

Ryan said...


Regarding your comment of Related's proposal appearance, do you know if Related showed interior renderings of architectural scenarios to the City Council? Or were any made public? I don't recall seeing any, (and can't find any) which is odd, considering that most developers try to win approval that way.

Guywithacause said...

Ryan here are my thoughts on your comments on the Gateway Center:

1-If you believe that the Gateway Center is unattractive, well that is your opinion. I personally like think it is visually appealing and well designed. We can agree to disagree on the "visal appeal", but please tell me how it is poorly designed? It has multiple entry/exits for pedestrians for easy access, and easy on/off access for highways, as well as the parking facility. I see this as well-designed and welcoming. What am I missing?

2-The Gateway center IS a destination. Why do I say that? Well it is not an island unto itself, it is part of the larger Yankee Stadium redevelopment. But let's put the Yankee stadium area to the side and talk specifically about the Gateway Center.

Before the Gateway Center, the area was a visually unappealing, ugly, unwelcoming hodge-podge of markets with an inaccessible waterfront. We now have a large retail outlet with Target/BJs/Circuit City/etc. You also have a nice Applebees for when you get tired of shopping. After eating, you can walk to the brand new beauiful waterfront park, complete with kidding park, sand beach, bike/walking paths, and 16 tennis courts, all with the backdrop of Manhattan. And after enjoying the park, you can then walk over to the care (coming soon) and enjoy a nice coffe and dessert outdoors. If that is not a destination, I am not sure how you would define one. It is a destination for shoppers, a destination for those seeking a nice park/access to the waterfront, a destination for dinner or simply enjoying a nice coffee on the waterfront.

3-If you think $500 million was not worth it for this development, that's probably because you don't live or shop here. This was a HUGE deal for the community, in much the same way the Armory redevelopment would have been for Kingsbridge.

GAX in the Bronx said...

for goodness sakes, why can't we think outside the box? does it have to be "stores"? the needs in the nabe - and solutions to them - are much broader. all the dialogues in the Bronx that i particpated in over the years about the armory included discussions of cultural and recreation centers, like a bowling alley, skating rink, gymnasium, or movie theater. do we really need another applebees, bed bath and beyond, or a california pizza kitchen for someone else to come in and take our money? there's a lot more we can do with the armory than just bring in people from the outside to make money off us.

how about taking some of the existing store owners on kingsbridge or fordham and giving THEM a chance to run any stores or other facilities in the armory? let THEM expand their businesses and build THEIR families? and if it cost public tax breaks for THOSE people (instead of for the "barons" like Related) that would be good use for public money and would provide REAL development for the Bronx.

and by the way, the parking Related was proposing was going to be for pay. now who in their right mind would drive up kingsbridge road from the deegan to pay for parking when they could go 5 miles north the cross county's new mall with free parking?

bottom line, Monday's action in the council paved the way for the good stuff to happen. so let's get to doing it.

and justice for all said...

@guy with a cause:

#1 - What's the matter little guy? think the "poors" dont want outsiders coming in? Or have you been so busy keeping the "poors" OUT that you dare not venture into their territory? Are you now saying more affluent folks shouldnt come to an armory mall with a Whole Foods or better yet, a Trader Joe's? Upper middle class folks shouldnt mix and mingle with the "poors" who sit on their asses all day, huh? Booed off stage? LOL. You sound like an even bigger idiot now. Trust and believe when I take the stage, my people salute. I'll let you figure that one out for yourself.

#2 - blame game? listen, I don't play games with people or lives. while you were pitching a bitch about people who refuse to get up their ass for minimum wage paying jobs it became more and more obvious to me that you hate the people in the 16th Congressional District who are predominantly people OF COLOR. Racism exists. Racism is one of societies greater ills, you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. Yes, guy, you are a racist ass racist. PERIOD. Extorting wages? What part of the tax payer funded, historic building project did you NOT understand? Living wage provisions are happening all across the country wherever projects involving tax payer property and landmark buildings are concerned. Reading is fundamental. Do your homework.

3. hmmm. you choose to stay in the "community", huh? you want to light up the darkness, huh? why, so you can look down on people who you claim do not KNOW what a dollar is? "I am trying to get JOBS so they have an opportunity to EARN, learn what a dollar means, responsibility, and experience. I want them to be able to GROW in their own community..." and you also claim the people in the "community" need to learn how to be responsible? you are neither community leader or community organizer. if you stepped on stage, and spouted that bs to the people I know and love in the Bronx...asserting they are too ignorant, too uneducated and too irresponsible to know the value of a dollar, therefore they do not have the right to earn $10 dollars per hour... rest assured you would get more than booed off'd get chased out of Dodge. Take your banter to the Republican National Convention. You know NOT what you are saying.

and justice for all said...

4. Failing schools in brown skinned communities are NOT a coincidence. Brown v. Board of Ed. The Dismantling of Brown v. Board of Ed. Again, do your homework. READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.

5. Poo-pooing a FREE EDUCATION system while illegal immigrants scramble to the States for the same FREE EDUCATION? We're not talking about illegal immigrants. Stick to the script. The schools set brown skinned kids in the Bronx up for failure. There is no disputing that fact. And the illegals are coming here for more than a FREE education...but thats another story and had nothing to do with LIVING WAGE PAYING JOBS.

None of your arguments hold up. You started out ranting about welfare recipients who are sitting around waiting for a check instead of getting up off their asses; then you thought it might be a good idea to step back off your transparent hatred for poor people of color, and attempted to argue that people shouldnt use the blame game; then you said a WHOLE FOODS or a TRADER JOES shouldnt be in the armory and that it would be better if it was a big 99 cent store.

If your ambition in life is to stay in the community to supposedly help people by looking down on them, you should jump off a bridge. You haven't enough compassion to help anyone, let alone yourself.

Do yourself, and everyone around you who doesnt know the value of a dollar a favor...READ...look into the history of the Bronx...look into the history of welfare...analyze the statistics. And when you talk all that hateful bullshit, make sure you do so behind a keyboard and a computer screen. You know what they is like a box of never know what you're gonna get.

and justice for all said...


what will get people off welfare besides a failing public school system that doesnt work?

Guywithacause said...

Hey my comments:

1-Please let me know when you are out protesting for a Whole Foods to come to the Armory to meet the needs of the underserved wealthy citizens of Riverdale and Westchester. It will be a hoot!.

2-Feel free to frame the debate about racism. I suspect you frame most debates about racism. I will stick to the facts and realities instead of the usual "you a racist" nonsense whenever someone is wrong or challenged.

3-Feel free to also twist my words to accomodate your nonsense diatribe on racism and my nonexistent hate of poor people. This is more of the same smoke and mirrors/blame game that has keep the Bronx generationally poor, and has worked to keep the Armory from happening. Congratulations, those "racist" and "evil" Related biggots have taken away their "useless" minimum wage jobs and we are now free are we gonna do now? My rent is due...those racist/evil Related biggots just took our jobs away! How could they! This is all their fault!

4-I agree failing schools in colored communities are no coincidence. Blaming the world for that does not solve anything. EMPOWERING yourself and your community, and EDUCATING YOURSELF does. A failing school is better than NO school. You can still work to improve yourself, your school, and your community instead of playing the blame-game. The choice is yours...I am glad the Honorable Sotomayor made the right choice.

5-If you want to stick to the script, let's remove your nonsensical "racist" chants out of the conversation. It is the fallback position for those with no position. For the answer to the rest of your comment, see point 4 above.

It is unfortunate that you, and many like youselves, create a wall that you cannot overcome. I get that you are a person of color and "disadvantaged." My heart goes out to you, and I wish you had everything. Fine. Now back to the real world. Stop blaming the world for your problems, life ain't fair, people are selfish/evil/greedy. If you want to overcome your obstacles you have a couple choices: 1-Play the blame game and hope things come to you. 2-Take action. Stay in school, get a degree, acquire the skills necessary to earn a higher wage. That may include working a minimum wage job for awhile that you are "too good for." It may also include other sacrifices, like cancelling your cell phone, cable, and other such "luxuries." If you want to overcome these obstacles, demand that your elected officials provide the resources to assist you. None of these courses of actions are racist, they are ways to overcome your obstacles.

Shunning jobs that are coming to a community with high poverty because they do not provide XXXX above minimum wage is NOT the solution. This simply leaves people with LESS opportunities to move ahead, NOT MORE. Empowerment and education are the solutions. Why do you not get that?

Guywithacause said...

Jane you can continue to blame the school system. It ain't the best..we got never was by the way. Regardless, STAYING IN SCHOOL is the key, getting essentially a FREE bachelor's degree is the key, acquiring HIGH PAYING skills is the key. Why? BECAUSE THEY EMPOWER PEOPLE. Why do you keep asking the same dumb question when the answers are quite clear. Stop blaming the school system..if you have to spend time teaching your kids, SO WHAT. These are your kids, your most important investment, and not wards of the state. I am sorry you have to "waste time" teaching your kids at night. Better yet, don't teach your kids anything and let them rot, it's the world's/Related's/racism's fault that you did not invest the time in your kids and they failed in life, right?

and justice for all said...


dude, you really ARE a stupid, stupid ass. READ. I am not a "person of color". I am a descendant of the indentured servant...the IRISH. Go back and READ. Search all of my posts. Check my profile, moron. And for the record every person is MY people. Except, of course, the likes of your ignorant ass.

You are as worthless as the RFP the good old boys at the RELATED COMPANIES submit to the NYC. Rocks and slingshots took down the giant.

Here's something else for your READing pleasure...

“Let me tell you the story of ‘Right Hand, Left Hand’. It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate: It was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love: These five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: Static. One hand is always fighting the other hand; and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But, hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right. Ooh, it’s the devastating right and Hate is hurt, he’s down. Left-Hand Hate K.O.ed by Love.”

- Radio Raheem, Do The Right Thing (1989)

You and your ilk are on the mat. STAY THERE.

Anonymous said...


Yearly income for mimimum wage ($7.25/hr in NYS) for 40hrs week = $15,080

Yearly income for living wage with benefits ($10/hr) for 40hrs week = $20,800

Yearly income for living wage without benefits ($11.50/hr) = $23,920

Income caps for Food stamps = $14,088 (one person) or $28,668 for family of four [other #s for 2 and 3 person household as well]

Medicaid = $13,800 (one person) or $26,115 for a family of four [other #s for 2 and 3 person household as well]

So when we crunch the #s, The potential minimum wage jobs at the Related site would have lifted a single person out of out of Food Stamp qualification and out of Medicaid qualification.

The "living wage" would do the same (clearly), but even the minimum wage would lift a single person out of statistical poverty.

So if the argument is about whether there will be less people on welfare, than the minimum wage jobs would have reduced (in theory) the # of people who qualify for government benefits.

So the question is, would it be better for people to work minimum wage jobs and relieve the government of having to provide food stamps and health care, or should these people not work and have the government continue to pay for these things.

Guywithacause said...

Jane I don't care what color you are, poverty knows no color, and you have made it clear you are suffering from some of the same problems that the poor suffer from, bad public schools. We as a society all suffer and lose when the public school system fails. Now let's move on to the debate at hand.

Why do you continue to spew so much hate and name calling? Worthless? Racist? Jump off a bridge? Dumb F---? Because I have a different opinion, and actually am proposing REAL ways to improve the community, and not to just give a hand-out of $3 per hour as the solution? How is this helping your cause or lending credence to you and your claim? It is only serving to paint you as ghetto, misinformed, victimized, and misguided, much like those who are somehow celebrating this "win" for the community.

Rest assured, being jobless and on public assistance is no "win," and neither is a lifelong minimum wage job for that matter. But this redevelopment was never meant to do anything besides bring amenities to an underserved community, rehabilitate a beautiful building and provide jobs for the community. It was not meant to solve the world's problem...who set the bar so high?

The answer to your last question is very easy...clearly it is better to have people off welfare and completely independent. The problem with that is simple:

1-These people do not have the skills/education/experience to afford to live independent of government assistance. Which is why they are on these programs in the first place. If you want to raise mimum wage to $20 per hour...I am all for that. It will not eliminate poverty, just set the new poverty line to $25 per hour. Same people, same problems. Economics 101.

2-The choices were not these 2 wages, and never were by the way. Which is why this deal died. Wanting something, or feeling you deserve it, is one thing. EARNING it is another. Which is again why this deal died. They were paying standard, retail-level wages that are the same as everywhere else in NYC. Except, here they wanted these wages to do XYZ for them, and if they didn't, well we don't want them. Well, you have your wish. You have no jobs, no services, no amenities, and no opportunities. What you do have is an abandoned structure for another 10 or 20 years doing NOTHING for anyone. You also have a beautiful blackeye on the community, the Bronx, and Bronx Borough Presient because you all just knocked yourselves out. Businesses that were thinking about coming to the Bronx to provide jobs and services/amenities, just crossed us off the list and are going to Westchester/Brooklyn/Queens/NJ. Way to go Ruben.

I wonder why we haven't heard about Plan B yet? Where is that developer waiting in the wings? Where is that alternate use that will be better? Surely Ruben and those protestors had a back-up plan right? Let's hear it...unless of course they thought an abandoned structure was the plan b?

Boogiedowner said...

We love a good, healthy debate here on BD, but let's keep it above the belt commenters!

Guywithacause said...

I agree wholeheartedly Boogiedowner.

Unknown said...

Mayor Bloomberg is expected to veto the nearly unanimous City Council vote rejecting the Kingsbridge Armory Mall project.

The project was rejected by 100% of the Bronx delegation to the City Council, the Bronx Borough President, and a 45 to 1 full City Council vote.

Why? Because a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) could not be agreed upon.

In my opinion, there is still hope to reach a deal over the next few days – between the Mayor’s veto and the City Council vote to override the veto.

The “living wage” issue is only one of several unresolved issues. The other issues include: local hiring, labor peace, community space, protection of existing businesses, and traffic adjustments.

The issues other than the living wage issue are very easy to resolve and would go a long way in establishing an atmosphere of trust among Related, the Mayor’s office, and our Bronx leaders. It is imperative that Related and the Mayor’s office quickly signal their agreement on these easier issues.

The living wage issue then needs to be compromised on. Here is a possible compromise on the living wage issue:

1) The community space net rental income can be deposited into a fund. The fund would then pay out to all employees with one year tenure who earn less than $10 per hour. The more successful the community space usage is, the more these employees will earn. It may not be “living wage” but, by definition, will be above minimum wage.

2) The living wage clause should not apply to part time workers who are still school-age and/or have not earned a high school degree. Employees should be encouraged to complete high school or earn an equivalency degree before they are eligible for the fund payments.

3) A retail management program should be developed to provide employees with the skills necessary to achieve higher salaries – whether at the Kingsbridge Armory or elsewhere.

Unless a compromise can be reached, the City Council will likely override the Mayor’s veto. Time is running out.

and justice for all said...

like I said, your racism and contempt for the poors is transparent to those of us who have dealt with people like you in the past.

nobody said anything when you made a blanket statement about welfare recipients who wont get up off their ass for minimum wage paying jobs.

yeah, poverty knows no color. I know this personally. you really showed your ass when you assumed I was brown skinned. you proved to anyone lurking, reading, browsing or skimming that racists have an agenda and they travel in packs and co-sign with each others opinions by not really saying anything at all.

hmmm...I get the distinct feeling that you are actually two people on this blog...or should I person posing as two seperate profiles....needless to say, I am not at all surprised. altruism is a rarity nowadays.

get accustomed to the fact that you are outnumbered. koppel just introduced a living wage mandate for any public project that takes more that $10,000 in public money. the only people who are anti-living wage are people who are anti-poor.

just because you wander around the Bronx...and take pictures of the pretty buildings with the cheap rent apartments for the gentrificators who are considering making a move from DUMBO to the BX, doesnt mean you are an expert in community relations, community benefits, or what is best for the community or the welfare recipients.

I'll be sure to let everyone I know that they should stop by this blog, this post in particular, so they can see for their own eyes how cowards get down.

THE Jane Blaz

and justice for all said...


"It is only serving to paint you as ghetto, misinformed, victimized, and misguided, much like those who are somehow celebrating this "win" for the community."

define "ghetto". you showed your ass, again. ghetto means what? black? latino? poor? because you assumed I was that anyway right?

"and actually am proposing REAL ways to improve the community, and not to just give a hand-out of $3 per hour as the solution?"

define "hand-out". you contradicted yourself AGAIN. a wage is not a handout. a wage is payment for work.

you should really consider holding a town hall meeting and expressing your opinions to the same community you insist you are trying to a matter of fact...I think I will have a town hall meeting and allow folks to feast with their own eyes on what people like you - who claim to live in the community and want whats best for the community - really THINK.

notice I never said anything about your race, religious background and gender. I didnt have to...never occured to me until I thought about how funny it would be to watch you try to explain all of your wonderful opinions to the same people you speak so highly of in your numerous comments. like glass.

good luck, youre going to need it.

Boogiedowner said...

@ Jane B.
You seem to be confusing some identities here: Guywithacause is not affiliated with our blog in any official capactiy - he is a reader and frequent commenter on the site. BoogieDowner is written by myself (Erin) and my husband (Lou) - otherwise known as "ErLu."

Gregory Lobo Jost said...

So just who is this guy with a cause? will he wear a name tag with his moniker at the next community board meeting?

GAX in the Bronx said...

sorry, folks, i don't care who any of your are. i want to hear constructive ideas.

and i think mayor's are bad ones. there's no "fund" necessary to be created here from public space. we're getting ourselves out of the welfare business with this project and creating funds out of community space is NOT the way to do it. that was made clear by the city council on monday. commercial money and commercial projects is the way.

let's get beyond throwing pennies at people. forget arguing about the the living wage argument and let's come up with a concept for the armory that will address a number of community issues. then you nail down the particulars later. but if we're paying people $7, $10, or $11 to wait tables at california pizza kitchen, we ain't helping the people of the bronx no way no how.

Ryan said...


Your comment to me should have been addressed to the "Anonymous" person, whose opinions you were discussing.

RonW said...

It's interesting that everyone is talking about creating jobs, but no one is talking about the long-term sustainability of any jobs that are created. To shove in yet another mall in an area that is already dense with retail outlets, within walking distance of both Target Marble Hill and the Fordham Road/Grand Concourse shopping area -- how much can you add? There seems to be no understanding in American business of the limits of expansion (look at Starbucks) or the law of diminishing returns.

What that part of Kingsbridge really needs is a place where people can move their bodies, not Cinnabon. You've got plenty of stores, but no parks.

Guywithacause said...

I don't think there is any point in further commenting regarding Jane's post. She is clearly for getting whatever she wants at any cost, and she is drunk on the "if only we can get $3 more per hour then the Bronx will be out of poverty and everyone will live happily ever after" kool-aid.

The Armory redevelopment cannot solve poverty in the Bronx, retail jobs were never meant to support a family of 4, and it's not Related fault that we have generations of poor in this community or their responsibility to "lift" anyone out of anything. Look to your elected officials for those answers.

I would have been perfectly happy to kill this deal IF THERE WERE EVER A BETTER ONE. But there is not, and there hasn't been for some time. Would I prefer some $40 per hour manufacturing jobs for the community, a high-tech center for biotechnology, or a research and science center? YES. Why haven't these higher paying options been advocated as part of the Armory Redevelopment? BECAUSE: B-They are not feasible for the building due to the location/demographics/demand and/or B-Your elected officials are incapable of structuring a deal that brings such a higher paying use to the site.

So what are we left with? Tough choices indeed. Either a retail/community space redevelopment that provides services/amenities/jobs/rehabs the Armory, or NOTHING. And somehow a "win" became NOTHING. A "win" would have been 'bye-bye" Related because we have XYZ as a much better use that will pay more/better serve the community. WHERE IS THIS PLAN? WHAT IS THIS USE? It does not exist, for if it had, it would have been mentioned all thru the negotiations with Related, and it would have certainly been introduced by now. But alas, we are left with NOTHING. Way to go Ruben, and all those believing this is a "win" for the Bronx.

Guywithacause said...

GAX, I agree we should get beyond throwing pennies at people, because that does not solve anything. Is giving a hand-out of $3 more per hour solve the Bronx's entrenched poverty? To use your words "no way no how." And believe that it is in fact a hand-out because retail wages across the city are the same, except here they want XYZ...a hand-out.

You want better paying jobs to enter the community? YOU NEED THE WORKFORCE TO SUPPORT THOSE JOBS. You need a highly educated/skilled workforce..and only when the population is EDUCATED and has EARNED skills that garner a higher wage, will we see CHANGE in these communities. You can either have no education/no skills and say "gimme" OR you can have education/skills and companies WANT YOU.

It is our elected officials that have maintained the poverty in the Bronx by advocating for the "gimme" mentality, which has led us all NOWHERE. It keeps them all in power, and it is the community that suffers. They will have you believe $3 more per hour is the real reason why there is poverty in the Bronx, and it is all Related's fault. This is the usual smoke and mirros/blame game.

You cannot put the cart before the horse. You want higher wages to enter the community? You must FIRST have a community that has the education/skills required to earn higher wages and work in these jobs! You want better services/amenities in the community? You must FIRST have a community that has the disposable income to support better services/amenities. Until that happens, we will still be playing the blame game/gimme nonsence, because that is what is, apparently, politically popular.

and justice for all said...


so, now I am drunk?
keep going, you're still a clown to everyone who has stopped by this blog in MY CAMP since yesterday to see how people like yourself think of the people of the Bronx who have lived here all of their lives. Did you even bother to peruse the work of Gary Orfeld or are you too high to focus on anything other than your own agenda? nevermind, its obvious that you partake in mind altering substances that prohibit you from seeing the real picture as it is.
and for the record...I am stone cold sober in every way. the next time you attend a community meeting, please do wear a name tag stating you are a "guywithacause". And then, if you are as bold as you think you are by making blanket statements about the "poors" the way you do, you can have a healthy debate with the same people you mock, criticize and judge.

like I said, in my previous comment...define "ghetto". I know an entire army of caucasian folks who would tell you to jump off a bridge and label you a dum, dumb racist f---.

think every person can afford to go to Fordham U? Think again. And anyone who doesnt receive scholarship money or enough financial aid to attend a private university would be fooolish not to attend a CUNY school. keep in mind though, there are only so many seats available at CUNY institutions as well, and that most of the financial aid has been handed out to greedy corporations to help the monsters get back on their feet.

You are a defeated, deranged, discrimination buff hell bent on telling other people how they should live when the system is stacked against them. Do a little reading. It might help your problem.

and when you've grown the balls to reveal your true identity and true sentiments and opinions to the community you claim to hold so dear, please make sure you do so in public. otherwise, you are just another twerp who hides behind the advantages "he" has, but refuses to acknowledge.

Boogiedowner said...

This comment thread has really degenerated into a nasty two person argument replete with name calling and accusations. BoogieDowner welcomes debate and commenting, but please keep it civil.

If Guy and Jane would like to continue the nastiness (on both sides), please find another place to argue.

I think both Guy and Jane have made a caricature of the other's stance.

Ad hominem attacks about a commenter being lazy or racist are not productive.

BoogieDowner is a blog that is here to profile the great things that we (Erin and Lou) love about the Bronx. We sometimes give our opinion about something, but we don't claim to be the voice of the Bronx or even of Bedford Park. BoogieDowner is a resource for people to find things to do, places to see, and people to meet in the Bronx. BoogieDowner also serves as a vehichle and forum for civil discussion in the comments section of posts.

Guywithacause said...

I agree Boogiedowner, which is why I stated I will no longer address that poster. My position remains unchanged, and those who understand what was at stake here, and what was happening behind the scenes to kill this deal, will agree.

Guywithacause said...

You gotta love Ruben Ramos claiming NO jobs is a win for the Bronx. Really Ruben? In that case, I am asking Ruben to STOP getting a paycheck for as long as it takes until we get some other viable use for the Armory redevelopment that pays at least $10 per hour. That way, you can celebrate the joys of ZERO income indefinitely with all the other men and women that now have ZERO income.

Come on Ruben...join them. Say it all together:

"No jobs are better than low paying jobs. No income is better than an income. Not working is better than working. Take your jobs out of the Bronx!" I would like to have these become the new Bronx chants, and displayed prominently at the Bronx Borough President's office, in all Bronx advertising, played at Yankee games, and added to all "Welcome to the Bronx" signs.

So Ruben, when are you gonna stop collecting that fat check and celebrate NO INCOME with the rest of the unemployed "winners" of the Bronx?

It should be noted, however, that when Governor Patterson came to the Bronx, he indicated the Bronx's double digit unemployment, the highest in the entire state in fact, was a "depression." The Governor must not know what the Bronx is about..cuz 'round these parts...the more unemployed..the more successful the Bronx is! Hopefully, other low-wage jobs, or any jobs that don't pay at least $10 per hour, will take notice of our new mantra and leave the borough as well. Good riddance! Come to the unemployed, and be a winner!

Unknown said...

Guywithacause - what do you think the compromise listed above?

Guywithacause said...

Mayor I have a few problems with this overall:

1-I have a problem with the idea that they select 1 group/business that must pay this "living wage," but have ZERO problem with every other business paying exclusively minimum wage (i.e. all the other businesses in the area). If you want to have $10 as a "living wage", then let's make that the new wage for ALL businesses in the Bronx/city/state whatever. This won't be feasible however. Why not? Because businesse will shout bloody murder that it will force them to raise prices/be uncompetitive/close...which is the same concerns Related has been raising but nobody seems to care about that.

2-The whole concept of a "living wage" was never part of this in EVER. That is until the "local" businesses felt that their profits may be threatened and imposed this requirement to kill the supermarket, as well as the deal. This was in fact NOT born of the community, community board, or community council, it was crafted at the request of the "local" businesses, and everyone us jumped on board, especially our locally elected politicians, because it sure sounds good to say "pay our people a living wage." This whole deal was corrupted by a few special interests, and for political gain, regardless of whether it was feasible or good for the community.

3-The Armory redevelopment was simply a way to do something with a gigantic eyesore, provide services/amenities to an underserved communities, and jobs too. It was never meant to solve world hunger, or rather the Bronx's many social ills. But somewhere along the lines, it became Related's fault and responsibility to "lift" the Bronx out of poverty by giving them this hand-out of $3 extra dollars per hour. And I bill this as a hand-out because every other retail job in the city pays the same amount, except here in the Bronx they wanted more money because it will cure poverty and we "deserve it"...poor us.

But to answer your question, I don't know whether your proposed compromise is feasible. I think the "living wage" nonsense is a way for local politicians to look good, not to solve anything or benefit the community. It reinforces the "we are victims you should give us more" mentality, and not the attitude of work/earn/sacrifice. The lesson learned today is: We would rather not have jobs and not work, than work. Not having jobs is a "win" for Bronx residents. Because at the end of the day, Ruben gets to make a great speech about how no jobs is a win for the residents, but he goes to his nice home, with his fat check, and sleeps soundly at night. How about everyone else?
The idea that he is painting the collapse of this deal as a win is absolutely abominable and outrageous.

Unknown said...

Every deal has some give and take. Much of the focus on this deal has been the living wage issue.

What Related and the administration need to do is signal a desire to reach an agreement. The way to begin is to agree on the simpler issues immediately: local hiring, labor peace, community space, protection of existing businesses, and traffic adjustments. With agreements on these five items, five out of six open issues will be resolved.

On the matter of living wage, I’ve proposed a compromise that provides a fund to employees with one year (could be two years) tenure who earn less than $10 per hour. It would not apply to part time workers who are still school-age and/or have not earned a high school degree. Employees should be encouraged to complete high school or earn an equivalency degree before they are eligible for the fund payments. A retail management program should be developed to provide employees with the skills necessary to achieve higher salaries – whether at the Kingsbridge Armory or elsewhere.

An operating expense fee can be attached to the rent paid by the tenants (maybe $1-3 per foot). That would be used to pay for the training program. Common charges are typical in leases.

All these things are negotiable – just numbers.

With five of the six issues resolved, and the fund / training, everyone is a winner. Bloomberg get the project through the City Council, Related proceeds with the construction, local businesses are protected, Ruben and the Bronx delegation achieve a victory for the Bronx, jobs are created, and funds are provided for community benefit.

and justice for all said...

The BRONX BOROUGH PRESIDENT is RUBEN DIAZ, not Ruben Ramos. People who really are part of the "community" know his name and are actually very proud of him. Believe it or not, Latinos and Blacks and Asians and Irish and Italian and Greeks and Germans and Albanians are just like Jewish folks in that we don't ALL have the same last name. Amazing, huh?

Ignorance is bliss for those who claim to know whats best for the "community".

Lots of folks who have stopped by this site to witness the exchange between myself and "guy" have found quite a few comments regarding this matter all over internet from the same "guy" with his supposed cause. Everybody would really enjoy meeting "him".

For the record, Ruben DIAZ Jr. is a good friend of mine. Certainly not the "yutz" someone has claimed he is...but with the use of the word "yutz"...well, now I know why the individual was so angered by the fact that RELATED and ROTH and BLOOMBERG were REJECTED by the "poor's" and City Council.

Happy Hanukkah

Unknown said...

I hope Related is reading this. If so, set up a meeting on Friday or even tonight with: the Mayor, Steve Ross, Ruben Diaz, Jr., the leader of the Bronx delegation, and Fernando Cabrera (his district after January 1st). The guidelines above are the basis for a deal.

Guywithacause said...

I agree Mayor..anything that you can do to get this deal back on track will be a good thing. Related wants to close this deal, Bloomberg wants to close this deal, and the residents of the Bronx want to close this deal. Let's ignore those special interests, and do something for the Bronx. Being with no job, no services, no amenities, and an abandoned site for years is not a win no matter how many times you say it Ruben.

Ruben if you allow this deal to die, it is incumbent upon you TO GET A BETTER DEAL FROM SOMEONE ELSE, otherwise the Bronx and its residents are not winners, we are big fat, unemployed losers. And it would be thanks to you.

Unknown said...

The Mayor has issued his veto:

Now there are a couple of days to agree on the compromise. The City Council will override otherwise.

If Related is reading this, please proceed as indicated above.

and justice for all said...

now this guy is having conversations with "him" self???

OMG...this is too hilarious.

desperate times call for desperate measures.

Guywithacause said...

Mayor thanks for that update about Bloomy's veto. I think we all saw it coming, and the letter said it all quite clearly as to why the Bronx, and the community, needs this redevelopment.

According to the ciy council, they also saw the veto coming and claim they have the 2/3 majority to override. Judging by the almost unanimous vote, I suspect they do.

If there is no other potential or viable deal on the horizon, why is the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz celebrating having this site vacant for the forseeable future as a "win" for the Bronx? I just don't get it, and neither do all the unemployed "winners" of the Bronx. Ruben Diaz gets to give a great speech about how the Bronx has made an "historic" vote, and the Bronx has had a huge "win" over the "evil and racist" Related, but he gets to walk off the stage, go home to his warm house, and sleep soundly, because he has a cushy job and big fat check.

It is certianly a win for him, but what about the Bronx? Governor Patterson said the Bronx is in a "state of emergency" with the highest unemployment rate of the state, nevermind all the other social ills. While Ruben Diaz is peeing on your back and telling you its raining, the Governor is actually stating the reality of the Bronx and the situation we are in. The Bronx is not "winning" in ANY category, and this loss of the Armory redevelopment, and with it amenities and jobs for the community, is not a "win."

But hey what does Ruben care. He will be enjoying a festive day of lighting the Christmas Tree, and having cookies and milk with other Bronx "winners." Looks like the only winner here is Ruben and the special interests that will be celebrating a very special, and lucrative, holiday.

GAX in the Bronx said...

did you folks see the story on news 12 about cabs at the Gateway mall?

how can anyone champion related to operate the kingsbridge armory, too? Throwing them out and starting from scratch was the best thing we could do. this company is not about jobs or benefitting the bronx, they are about themselves and pretending to offer the bronx something only as a means to an end. if they can make it sound good, then that's all they care about. but when it comes to reality... uh uh. we don't need them here.

Guywithacause said...

Yes let's talk about what Related did at the Gateway the nytimes article which contains the perspective of the community members and local businesses:

Had Related not redeveloped the Gateway Center area, we would not have a new waterfront park (nor waterfront access at all), no new trees, no mainstream retailers with a breath of selection that many thought would never come to the South Bronx, the ability for residents to do their shopping locally, no jobs, and a blighted site. Yes, absolutely horrible what Related did by developing the Gateway Center.

I remember a time not long ago when we called companies "racist and evil" when they DIDN'T want to open in areas like the South Bronx, and now they are "racist and evil" when they do. Damned if you do..damned if you don't.

Regarding your comment about the cabbies, I will explain what is ACTUALLY going on since you are clearly not a patron of the Gateway Center. The gypsy cabs, many of whom were not actually even gypsy cabs, were showing up, clogging the streets in and around the Gateway Center and gounging the customers who need a ride.

In order to rectify the chaos, clogged streets, and complaints about gouging from shoppers since the cab companies were not doing it themselves, the management company had to take control and instead had taxis come into the mall so that A: They can be identified as actual cabbies and not a random person with a car who will cheat customers B:Clear the traffic of nonstop cabs blocking the streets in front of the Gateway Center.

They charged the cabs a ONE TIME access card fee of $50 to access the parking lot whenever they chose. This is no different than paying $25 for an EZ-Pass, for example. However, I do agree that they should not be charged $1 everytime they enter the parking facility. And if they are charged $1 dollar, that fee should simply be added to the total cost of the ride.

However, to somehow make the claim "see what Related did, who needs them" is pure nonsense, and simply someone who is unaware of the real story, or has an agenda against Related.

Guywithacause said...

The link above is missing this add this to the end of it with no space: ournal.html

GAX in the Bronx said...

i'm not going to debate the cabbie fiasco there. but there's no excuse for it. those related guys think they can do anything they want.

we can do better than the gateway mall... and we hope to do so at the kingsbridge armory.

it's amazing how limited your thinking is. you think related is the only developer out there? you think the way they do business is the only way to do business?

why have any RFP at all? let's just make them NYC's official developer and let them do whatever they want. no standard, no guidelines, no decency. your call, related. enjoy!

please note that on the heels of what happened this week, there's now a community in queens about to take on a developer there because they are not paying a living wage and they got government subsidies when they built.

as this continues to catch fire, you're gonna find we have raised the standard for employment throughout the city... and all because of the courage in the bronx.

so have a little patience and watch what happens. the times they are a-changing, my friend, and you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone.

GAX in the Bronx said...

oh, and by the way, that times article was a joke. i saw it when it came out. journalism? not even close.

Guywithacause said...

GAX it was 3 years of negotiations with Related. And in those 3 years time, NOBODY else stepped in ZERO. And that was BEFORE the "living wage" proposition.

If there was a better alternative when there was NO "living wage" proposal, it would have appeared in..oh..let's say...THE LAST 3 YEARS WHEN MONEY WAS FLOWING. So now you think magically somebody else is stepping up to the plate to make all your dreams come true?

If that's the case, why isn't Rubencito announcing this new deal? Where is his plan B? I am all for bringing a new deal to the table that is better than the last, but in the last 3 years of negotiating with Related there was none, and that was before the "living wage" proposal.

Ruben let's hear plan B. The silence is deafening, and every day that passes that Related walked away and there is no other deal on the table, the WORSE off we are, NOT better. Winners you say?

I sure hope the Queens community doesn't take the Ruben Diaz approach..i.e. extort money from a developer, and if he doesn't get things the way he wants, EVERY DEAL DIES. Unless you want to be Bronx "winners" that is: unemployed, no income, no amenities, and vacant/abandoned sites! The lesson learned boys and girls: Have a PLAN B. How did this concept slip past Ruben Diaz....sheer incomptence and grandstanding.

Guywithacause said...

The times article was an accurate representation of the impact that the Gateway Center is having on the community. Don't believe me or the NYTimes? Ask those that are shopping there..there are LOTS of us from the community, the Bronx, and across the river in Manhattan. Or you can ask the business owners in the community who recognize that it is "bringing alot more shoppers" to the area.

GAX in the Bronx said...

oy vey. i wish you were as filled with hard information as you are with passion.

i hope you're a good listener because you are totally wrong.

there were other developers who bid. kara had their plan with a developer ready to go and there was a man named peter fine who had a legitimate proposal. in addition there were a number of ways the RFP could have been written given the number of legitimate ideas that had been presented over the years. but the city wrote the RFP to feed related's trough... so, surprise, this favored firm of the mayor's with direct ties to his former deputy commissioner won it.

but it's abundantly clear that when the city made it's choice of related, it was NOT the only plan on the table, as you contend.

second, the problem with the Times article and why it was was waste of time is that they deliberately ran a positive advocacy piece. when it was written there were many alternative views out there, but they chose to not inquire about them nor represent them in any form, which was totally irresponsible on their part. as a result, it's a tabloid piece. i distinctly remember having dialogues with people about the problems in that place and then this article comes out and none of those concepts were in there. we were shocked.

not to mention the political hand washing and paying for votes in the council (Read joel rivera and maria baez) that went on to get it approved... which is a matter of public record.

and finally... three days after the vote, you're shouting where is plan B, where is plan B? how do you know there isn't one?

i happen to have the FACT that not only is there one... or maybe more than one... legitimate plans ready to be suggested, but it's only a matter of time before you read about it in print.

so, i know it's hard to be wrong, but in this case you are. so relax. lower the volume, read, and watch. you just might find that there's something out there that makes sense.

and justice for all said...

@GAX in the Bronx:
He's not going to read. He's got it all figured out. He's either a RELATED employer, a family member of someone who works there, or a transplant from somewhere far, far away who claims to "stay in the community" . He kept on calling the BBP "Ramos"...if that isn't a clear indication that he has no ties to the community, I don't know what is...and for the record...the commentary "degenerated" when this "guy" made blanket statements about welfare recipients who wont get up off their asses and accept $7.25 an hour.

But I sure do thank you for injecting your common sense into the dialogue GAX. Notice how he defends RELATED with passion...? Its really not hard to tell.

GAX in the Bronx said...

did you see BP "Ramos" (lol) on NY1 tonight? it was absolutely fantastic. i had tears in my eyes. for the first time in years, someone was actually standing up for the bronx. he is to be highly commended...

and justice for all said...

I am going to tell you a story...

I remember the Winter of 1985, I was in high Mom worked for Capital Cities/ABC - now Disney...she was at the Twin Donut on Fordham and was snowing...nobody else was home, Spellman was closed...she called the house and screamed "I need help...someone is trying to rob me at Twin Donut". My mother was one tough lady...but she was pregnant with my brother at the time... I ran across Fordham Road in sneakers, no socks, my uniform skirt and a red Cardinal Spellman hoodie...I literally slid into Twin Donut...and she pointed the perp out to me...I walked out into the snow and beat the perp (a woman) bloody...the police came and I had to go to court. When I found out later that the woman had 5 kids at home, I wanted to kill myself.

Thirteen years later, I saw that same woman in the street. She was dressed in a suit, looked sharp. I approached her and asked her if she remembered me. We went into a spanish restaurant and had a cup of coffee. My son recently passed away, and I spent that afternoon at the HRA office on the Concourse applying for welfare benefits. She remembered me. She remembered me throwing her to the floor and hitting her, saying "my mother is pregnant you crackhead piece of shit!!!" She laughed and said she didnt blame me for my actions or my anger. She wished someone like me would have been around when she was pregnant and getting daily beatings from her boyfriend. She told me her life story. She told me that her children had been taken away from her and sent to various foster homes after her arrest and that she tried to kill herself. Then she told me an agency in the Bronx helped her. Got her clean and sober, provided her with skills (she was a paralegal) so that she could earn a living to support herself and her children, helped her move into a section 8 apartment...her younger children were returned to her. The older ones were struggling, but they would find their way. She regained her dignity after being dealt several devastating blows, some of which came from my own hands. She worked for the Legal Aid Society. She held my hands in hers and thanked me for stopping her from destroying her life. I tried to choke back the tears, but it was useless. She arranged for one of the attorneys at the LAS to fast track my application and put me in touch with a support group for parents who lost their children. Anytime it snows I think about her. Sounds crazy, but I do.

That "poor" woman had so many things stacked against her. Her life was hell. But, with the right opportunity and people around her who helped her to regain her dignity, she got herself back on track. If she simply were given a minimum wage job, she would have returned to drugs. I cannot help but to believe in my heart that she encompasses everything the Bronx is about. TENACITY. Its hard to articulate...probably even harder for the reader to understand...but she, me, you, we...are the Bronx.

The pheonix will rise from the ashes and fly again.

Guywithacause said...

Gax here are my comments:

1-There is no doubt that there WERE other bidders, but the city AND the city council AND the community board moved forward with Related. Just because you have 100 bidders means nothing. We are also forgetting this deal was 3 years in the making, and everyone was on board UNTIL Morton Williams and the other "local" businesses felt threatened (or their profits where threatened) when the supermarket was included. And ONLY then did this deal start to unravel and the "living wage" requirement instituted (at their request). At the end of the day, had Morton Williams not felt threatened, the deal would be done and we all would have moved on.

2-If there was a plan B, it would have been used as leverage over the last 3 years of negotiations with Related. But again, that did not happen. Why? Because A: There was/is no plan B..which is the most likely answer or B: Our elected officials are too busy grandstanding and pandering for votes than close a deal, or maybe too incompetent.

If Plan B were on the back burner, it would have been announced already and we would have been told by Ruben Diaz that "the Bronx has come out victorious, we have defeated the "evil and racist" Related and now are moving forward with XYZ which is better." Instead what did we get? The Bronx has won, because we rather have no jobs than minimum wage jobs." And that's why we all know there is no Plan B. Still waiting for that Plan B which is BETTER than Related...I wonder what the delay is? Ruben had 3 years to make sure plan B was in place..what's the delay?

3-As for the NYTimes article, there is no doubt that there are other viewpoints. They could have focused on how "horrible" it was to lose all those run down markets. Would that have been an accurate portrayal of the community? NO. They could have shown how the "evil and racist" Related is victimizing the community by providing jobs/retail/waterfront park/redeveloping a virtually abandoned site. OH the horror! What the NYtimes did was an accurate representation of the community's overall impression of the Gateway center, and it is in fact overwhelmingly positive. There are always a few naysayers, the difference between the redevelopment of the Gateway Center and the Armory is simply this: The negotiations were not hijacked by a few special interests that wanted to secure their profits. It's that simple.

We should all be demanding the Plan B...why wait? The longer we wait, the more time is wasted, the longer the site it abandoned, the longer the Armory is a gigantic eyesore, the longer we are without opportunities, jobs, income, or a useable productive site...which according to Ruben Diaz means we are "winners." Ruben you can pee on everyone else's back and say it's raining, but I, along with the Mayor and Governor, know we are NOT WINNERS when we have the highest unemployment in the state, and you laugh and cheer when jobs disappear.

Unknown said...

Why the living wage proposal for the Kingsbridge Armory was never a solution to addressing poverty

Lies of omission, the bully pulpit, and other tactics used to mislead the borough’s poor and stymie economic growth in the Bronx

Recently, the City Council voted to derail the Related Companies attempts to transform the long vacant Kingsbridge Armory solely on the basis of the living wage issue, although the official reason is listed as “unmitigatable traffic and environmental concerns”. While the special interests in the Bronx would like to have everyone believe that they were portraying a “David versus Goliath” situation, with Related as the convenient Goliath, the fight over a living wage is not as simple as it is portrayed in the media or by its proponents.

First, the notion that any entry-level, retail job, even if it paid a living wage, is going to sustain a family or lift anyone out of poverty is not economically sound and goes beyond the absurd. Yet this is the argument some Bronx groups took to the streets as a way to “correct” past injustices of the borough’s poor. A living wage as proposed barely scratches $20k a year before taxes, and if someone was fortunate to find an apartment at $500 a month (which no longer exists…), they would still be paying more than a third of their net income just on rent.

In reality, most retail jobs attract young adults and teenagers rather than the demographic advocates are clamoring about because of the type of work involved. This is plainly evident by walking into any retail store throughout the city, and especially in the Bronx. More importantly, employment data in NYC shows that the number of unemployed young adults and teenagers is triple that of adults over 25 years old. Taking this into consideration, it would make sense to make this group the priority to address, providing them with a “stepping stone” to reach other career choices. This information allows one to conclude that many working in retail are actually relying on someone else in their household as the primary breadwinner and that the income their job brings in is more likely of a supplemental nature.

Unknown said...

Part 2...

What is most misleading about the “living wage” argument is the notion that working in an entry-level retail job is the same as having a career that allows someone to make a living. It is hard to believe anyone would consider entry-level retail as a long-term career choice, especially given all of the opportunities for education and growth in this city. Retail is a good place to start understanding simple concepts like customer service and responsibility, but it should not ever replace aspiring to climb up the career ladder. Advocates have dangled the living wage carrot as a way to make retail work seem more attractive to employees while telling employers and the business community that a living wage will decrease employee turnover and increase productivity. While the argument may have merit in some cases, no one has been able to provide a rational to employers of why they should reward potential employees for not doing anything different then a similar employee across the street.

Speaking of the business community, there is no one in business, large or small, including minority or women-owned business, who thinks the living wage argument as proposed makes sense. The notion that a landlord can coerce his tenants to give up more of their profit, especially in this economy, as a condition for a lease agreement would not see the light of day anywhere else in the city or state. Yet, that is exactly what was proposed, that the developer require all of its tenants to sign a living wage agreement as a condition for renting space in the Armory.

Living wage advocates have claimed that other states and municipalities across the country are now using community benefits agreements to implement a living wage program. But turn the page on the same playbook that these groups are using and read the fine print, and you’ll see that, “Almost all living wage policies apply to businesses receiving government contracts—i.e., businesses performing privatized government services.” Read on a few pages later and it states that it is very difficult to convince “indirect beneficiaries”—i.e., retail stores, of reasons why they should pay their employees nothing less than a living wage and admits, “…potential tenants may refuse to lease space under such a requirement…” [Community Benefits Agreements, Making Development Projects Accountable, 2005]

What if an employer did agree to pay his/her employees a living wage? Does anyone expect that the business owner was going to simply forgo making a profit to feel good that his employees could have a slightly higher quality of life? Rest assured that the ones who would have paid for the living wage for the few hundred or so entry-level jobs at the Armory would have been the tens of thousands of other residents in the community, who would most likely go someplace else and eventually, so would the businesses.

Unknown said...

Part 3...

It is appalling that a hard-line approach promoting no jobs rather than jobs paying across the spectrum, including 1000 construction jobs and a few hundred other jobs that pay well above a living wage, has decided the fate of not only the Armory, but also of the surrounding community. One has to ask how far out of touch advocates really were and whether or not this fight was more about ego and maintaining relevancy than about addressing the lack of employment or working to bring true change to the community. This lost only perpetuates long-standing quality of life issues, like disconnected young adults and teens getting into trouble because they are not doing anything meaningful, like being employed. Even worse, it promotes a bad example to the next generation that a job is an entitlement, and that it is better to sit and complain about life instead of doing something with it.

There is also an apparent double-standard by groups advocating for living wages that clearly shows that this was really never about the people in the community, but about pushing forth personal agendas. Many of the local businesses in the immediate vicinity of the Armory operate on a cash-basis only, where employees at these jobs are typically being paid “off the books”. This means there is no guarantee of even receiving a minimum wage, something that every job in the Armory would have at least provided. Also, some of the most vocal supporters standing against the Armory plan don’t pay a living wage to the majority of their own employees, nor are they being asked to do so by its proponents. Where is the outcry against these “injustices” against the working poor? The hypocrisy justifying their argument was that the Related Companies was going to receive tax breaks and incentives that come out of the pocket of local businesses. Yet, the plan would have brought in more than double its return over twenty years, not to mention the millions of dollars in annual tax receipts that could have gone into city coffers to directly improve the community, like job training and development.

This outcome ensures that everyone loses. Bronx residents lose and get no new jobs, career opportunities, or other benefits that could have been obtained. Local students lose and will continue to sit in overcrowded classrooms, as the creation of new schools was partially dependent on this agreement. The neighborhoods lose because the city does not have the funds to invest in beautification projects that could have been part of a benefits deal. Bronx shoppers lose because limited shopping options will continue to force them to spend more dollars outside of the borough than in it as indicated in census data. The city loses because it will continue to spend $1 million+ annually in just maintaining the Armory, money that could have been used to help the Bronx. Finally, communities throughout the Bronx may lose because large developers might think twice at investing in the borough if it means going up against single-issue (and single-minded) agendas.

Defying all economic principles and a sense of reason, proponents have hailed the rejection of the redevelopment proposal as a moral victory. One wonders how long it will take before the celebratory tone turns into grumbling about a lack of investment in the community and the perpetuation of poverty. Certainly longer than the “year or two” some individuals have speculated and publicly stated it will take to find another developer willing to invest a few hundred million dollars in redeveloping the Armory.

Guywithacause said...

Well said Dan. Your comment was right on target and you are clearly not only educated about the issues, but why this deal really fell apart.

I second your comment, as I have said much of it already.

GAX in the Bronx said...

well, dan, you've argued beautifully why this plan should have been defeated. if neither a 7 nor 10 nor 11 dollar wage is going to lift the Bronx out of poverty, than it's the WRONG PROJECT and should have been defeated! we need, then, a project that IS going to lift Bronxites out of poverty.

and since both of you are unabashed whores to related, as if they are the only ones who can save us, you need to know there ARE other plans out there and there ARE other ideas out there. and Guy, i know this is gonna hurt, but you didn't listen the last time, the BP does have a plan B... and even a C and D that you're going to hear about soon.

and goodness, i just loved you saying he had three years to present a plan B. he's only been the BP for what, 9 months? what was he supposed to do, as an assemblyman in soundview come up here and say what he thinks... especially when there was another BP in office? you're pretty funny.

and you must be the only one who doesn't know about the ongoing rancor and opposition that occurred not only when the community board approved this plan, but the dissatisfaction from MANY different corners for three years over this related plan? it's been documented by bronx newspapers all along; how did you miss it? and did you attend any of the rallies or community meetings or talk with any of the people involved? clearly you didn't. so how can you even suggest that no one said anything till now? it's bizarre.

and as far as the times goes, no one said they should have turned the whole article over to opposing views of the gateway mall, but by ignoring all of the opposition, they gave away that they had an agenda other than accurate reporting of the story.

bottom line: please write more and shout louder because it won't matter, because i for one am not going to waste anymore time on neanderthal, stubborn, closed-minded, limited, ill-informed thinking by scrolling down to find this blog any longer.

you're wrong... and you, too dan. and that will be proven over time. all this was, was a brief delay in the jobs and the progress to get the project in a better form. and when it does get built, the armory is going to do much more than related's bed bath and beyond and california pizza kitchen ever could. and when it does, you'll be eating your words.

have fun!

Guywithacause said...

Gax I am glad you will no longer be posting on this thread, because we, as in the Bronx and the community, don't need immature name calling...that's best left for Ruben Diaz and his Democratic friends. As a result, I will no longer be addressing your comments either.

As I have stated before, Dan your comments were right on target. And those who are educated about the issues, and understand why this deal really collapsed, will agree with us.

Still waiting on that Plan B Ruben Diaz. Clearly there must be plenty of companies falling over themselves to spend $300,000,000 million to redevelop this site and pay the community employees whatever it is you deem as fair, regardless of the job/skills/education required. Better yet, let's bring in a high-tech biocenter, which would pay community members $100+ per hour for Scientists, Doctors, and Bioengineers...clearly the poorest community district in the country will have a plethora of these highly skilled and educated professionals to work these jobs. And if they don't, well you will make sure whomever you can find, regardless of their skills/education will work these jobs for whatever salary you determine.

So while all those unemployed 'winners' are spending another christmas with other 'winners' in the homeless shelters, Ruben Diaz, and the executives of all those "local" businesses that killed this deal, will be having a very merry christmas, and another 20 more years of profit at the expense of the community. Thanks Ruben...and while you are busy buying gifts for your family and donors, hopefully you can get around to announcing that Plan B that will be BETTER than the last deal. Still waiting..maybe 2011? No rush....we 'winners' are just gonna hang out, collect checks, and just continue being unemployed 'winners.'

Unknown said...

Regarding the comments from GAX, I am neither a fan of Related or of million dollar giveaways to corporate America. I am however, a pragamatic realist who understands that no job, whether it is minimum wage or a salaried position, is going to lift anyone out of poverty. What may lift people out of poverty are:

1. An education that prepares them for a career path

2. Developing skills that are applicable to a broad range of careers, preparing them to compete in an ever-changing marketplace.

3. And self-motivation and self-discipline prepares them for life's difficult paths and to hopefully make the right choices.

What is common amongst these three points is that each of them requires an individual to prepare themselves. Unfortunately, too many of the local residents are not prepared to compete for a position that would pay them a salary to thrive. That does not however, negate the merits of creating a project where more than two-thirds of it would have created salaried positions that would have offered a living wage. While the other third would be minimum wage positions, it would have provided many individuals with the preparation needed to set them on a path away from poverty.

The difference between what the Related proposal offered and the Council vote was that the former offered equality of opportunity and the latter proposed to create an equality of condition. In the end, the only equality of condition that the Council vote creates is that everyone is equally poor.

Futhermore, to base the salvation of local residents on the aspirations of politicians is both foolish and naive. Even if such a plan existed, who is going to finance it? Certainly not the city, and definetly not after this debacle. Private corporations? This precedent setting decision is surely going to give pause to developers as evident by the comments of Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, who stated on Friday that he would "...clearly be reminding people what's been lost as a result of this decision."

Plan B is rhetoric being offered as a consolation to the residents who are disappointed (and there are many more than are being reported) while the politicians scramble to actually figure out what to do next.

Unknown said...

In addition GAX, Thomas Jefferson once said, "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." This is no less relvant today than it was in his day, especially for many of the local papers in the Bronx, who are unabashed supporters of the organizations that spearheaded this disastrous proposal. The truth is that the papers in the area are just as subjective and as biased as any other paper, and have aligned themselves with interets that are not well equipped or versed in realistic ways to help people move forward.

Also GAX, one of your last statements could not offer more frightful prospects for the future of the Armory, where you state, "...he's only been the BP for what, 9 months? what was he supposed to do, as an assemblyman in soundview come up here and say what he thinks?" This alone should serve as a wake up call that plans B, C, D, etc. just don't exist and that the politicans have continued to expand their power over the people by removing choices and decisions from them and create further dependency on their backwards policies.

As far as the ongoing rancor for the last three years from the community, it is easier to spread fear and misinformation to rally people against a cause than to present information in an objective manner and encourage people to make up their own minds. Based on what is written and on from the way the demonstrations were staged, this "community decision" had all the objectivity of the Inquisition.