Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The BoogieDowner Welcomes Fresh Direct to The Bronx!

The Boogie Downer Welcomes Fresh Direct to The Bronx!

Since taking over the Boogiedowner, I have seen my blog as an alternative information source where various community activists could express themselves, share information or rally around an idea. Often times I simply disseminate information without taking a position. As we approach our 300,000th hit on the Boogiedowner, there is an issue I cannot sit on the side lines about. The topic is related to the Fresh Direct Inc. coming to the Bronx.

Firstly, I want to clearly state which side of the line I stand on by thanking Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the BOEDC for making sure the Bronx gets it fair share of economic development funds. The residents of the Bronx have underwritten more than one project in other boroughs. It is a welcomed opportunity that some of OUR money is actually coming back this way to RETAIN 2000 New York City jobs of which almost 600 are Bronx residents currently working for Fresh Direct, and the opportunity to compete for an additional 1,000 jobs as they expand and grow in their new home in The Bronx. Another added benefit will be the opportunities that other Bronx businesses will have to provide their goods and services to Fresh Direct Inc. In fact not only do I thank the above elected officials and organizations, I see it as their responsibility to protect the Hunts Point Community and The Bronx as a whole by bringing Fresh Direct to our borough.

At a time when New Jersey is actively poaching our industrial markets in Hunts Point, inaction would have been not only reckless, but negligent. Fresh Direct Inc. trucks will deliver product from our industrial markets making sure they stay right here in the Bronx, where they belong. In addition, the electronic truck fleet Fresh Direct Inc. has agreed to purchase from Smith Electric, another new Bronx based company, has the potential to revolutionize trucking throughout America. There are tens of thousands of trucks in Hunts Point. How many employees will Smith Electric need to keep up with the demand that could be created by the revolutionary realty of trucks run on renewable energy?

Congratulations to the IDA board that did not yield to pressures from individuals, many of whom do not even live in the Bronx, who voiced their opinion against the grants to support Fresh Direct Inc.’s move to the Boogie Down. If they want to yell crony capitalism, let them do so when grant money is allocated for projects in their communities. For far to long our borough has gotten the short end of the stick. Our residents need and deserve these jobs, and now were going to have them. It is about time The Bronx got its fair share.

Kudos to all for a job well done. If you disagree, you’re welcome to comment or send your own editorials.


Anonymous said...

What a thoughtful, passionate and accurate statement. We finally hear from the voice of the Bronx and it reflects what the rest of us have been thinking. Bravo! And yes, welcome to the Bronx Fresh Direct.

Anonymous said...

As a Bronx resident, I have some uneasy feelings about this project. Fresh Direct has never serviced the whole Bronx and the amount of money they are getting for jobs promised down the line comes to almost $100,000 per job.
The deal smells fishy and as the community wasn't involved in the decision (even the community board was caught off guard) I think we need to review carefully the deal.
I want jobs for the Bronx but at what cost? Maybe instead of helping a big guy we should offer a bonus to all of the small businesses that are struggling and creating jobs.
There is too much pressure for the big guys to save us, when they are the ones who got us in this economic mess. First we help Trump with a sweet heart deal and now Fresh Direct

Boogiedowner said...

Firstly, thank you for the post. You voice valid concerns. Here is my quick respond.

The first difference between Trump's deal and Fresh Direct is that Trump will make sure all the $ he brings to the Bx. come back to him through businesses he controls on the new golf course. That is why he is a Billionaire. Fresh Direct will be part of a community of inter-dependant businesses. It is not just about the jobs created, but also giving the Hunts Point Markets one more reason to stay in the Bx. If Hunts Point loses its co-operative markets the area will take a big hit. One deal will make Trump more $, and end a fiasco that has gone on for to long. Which is probably why he got such a sweet deal. The other will create synergy and a lot of opportunity for local small and big businesses. The vendors in LIC are crying and public staying they feel betrayed by the City. I believe we should be aware but optimistic. If we want to save the $100 million from the city coffers we should look at sweet hart deals given in other boroughs starting with the big billion dollar firms in Manhattan. Again, how did subsidiaries of Brookfield secure approximately 800K in small business grants? The Bronx is the starving alley cat. The fat cats gave us a crumb.

In addition, many of the loans are contingent upon promises made according the the “Memorandum of Understanding”. If they don’t keep their promises at least the $ coming from the BOEDC are callable. Once I get my hands on the “Memorandum of Understanding” I will try to post it.

Please also note additional public hearings are planned to take place in June. If you have concerns go express yourself. When I have the details I will post. I will also post information about small business grants available though the BOEDC.

-J. said...

Wow, $130M in tax money going to subsidize a private company AND $8/hr jobs that will require people to be on government assistance to be able to make a living? That's something the Bronx doesn't want or need.

City Island Images said...

Read all about it: City Island Images - CIMAGES @ Twitter

Boogiedowner said...

I am all for the initiative to raise the minimum wage and peg increases to inflation as Sen. Klein and other Bx elected officials are fighting for on the state level. I also support a city wide livable wage to get people off the welfare rolls which Bx. BP Diaz has fought for and is now a hot issue in the City Council. I also hope everyone who is fighting against Fresh Direct, due to "the low wage" argument, uses their energy to help get both bills get passed.

In relation to what Bronx residents want; I think it is loud and clear. If they did not want the wages paid by Fresh Direct, 600 Bronx residents would not cross the bridge daily at an expense over $10 per day to work and get paid.

Anonymous said...

For the cost of this benefits package, the city could give 4,385 students full, four-year scholarships to CUNY or hire 1,458 new teachers or pay for 350,000 G.E.D. test-prep programs or launch a microlending program for minority and woman entrepreneurs.

Anonymous said...

The issue for me is not we don't want them here, the issue is how much of a bribe did taxpayers have to fork over to keep food giant FRESH DIRECT in New York City? Answer:$100 million. Way too much!

How many "actual" jobs is 3,000 "potential" jobs?" 500? 1000? Jobs that pay a living wage or jobs... that require workers to get food stamps?

If this is so good, why did this "done deal" have to be... hatched in a backroom without public input?
I'm glad to keep Fresh Direct in the city and give them a home in the Bronx where they can be part of the economy, but what other opportunities will be missed because we gave away $100 million to one company, and what precedent have we set?

That's $100 million that can't be spread out to help many, many smaller businesses that form the backbone of our economy, it can't be used to improve our schools, it can't be used to keep our libraries open, it can't be used or to keep our fire houses open, or our senior centers open, or to help those with special needs or dire circumstances who need it most.

Is this such a bad place that we have to bribe companies to the tune of $100 million to do business here?

How will smaller food companies compete against that advantage? The answer is they will help pay the subsidy given to Fresh Direct. Maybe that unfair advantage will help put smaller competitors out of business. Then we lose jobs. Put into context, with details revealed, the deal with Fresh Direct not looking so good.

Anonymous said...

Opposed this another attempt to pimp the poor people in the bronx! No public hearing was held to communicate this would even be happening they didn't care to ask us if we wanted fresh direct they just said oh by the way lets celebrate more asthma for our kids more trucks more services outside to outer boroughs and none to the local residents. Shocked at the borough president ! I expected it from bloomberg but not Diaz! Smh

Anonymous said...

I work with the Bronx Borough President's office all the time (through Melissa Cebollero) and it upsets me that community organizations working on trying to improve access to healthy food in the Bronx, such as my organization (Bronx Health REACH), were not consulted about FreshDirect or alternative options we would like to see happen to improve access to healthy food, create jobs, and positively develop the South Bronx waterfront. It just so happens that Paul Lipson, who founded THE POINT and used to work for Congressman Serrano, has developed a plan to have a Regional Food Campus at Oak Point (near Hunt's Point) that would be a permanent location for the GrowNYC wholesale farmers market; include a community kitchen; cut & wash facility; be immediately accessible to the middlemen already shopping at the Hunt's Point Terminal Market & Jetro, who deliver to stores & bodegas throughout the Bronx; and it would be accessible to the community to come into (unlike the rest of the Hunt's Point market or FreshDirect). And it would also create jobs - better jobs than FreshDirect would. To me it is a no brainer that the city should help Paul Lipson's project get funding ahead of FreshDirect's new building. But I was not made aware of the FreshDirect deal until after it was decided on.

Anonymous said...

The MOU states that Fresh Direct will ATTEMPT to hire at least 290 Bronx people over the next 8 years to nonunion jobs. (30% of the 900+ new employees). For this nyc is giving $130 million?

Sadly, it’s more than that, because the borough presidents office says in the MOU that it will work to help Fresh Direct recruit and train workers, and help find MWDBE and LBBE’s for Fresh Direct.

I guess $130 million isn’t enough for Fresh Direct to do its own share of this agreement. Now we need the borough president’s office to get its staff to help “recruit and train” the 290 low-paid Bronx workers for Fresh Direct.

This is an embarassment! Diaz is showing that he’s now willing to do anything to kiss up to the monied interests in NYC, because he thinks this will help him run for City-wide office. It might, but all those people who will reward him for finally playing ball now know they have him AND the Bronx under their thumb.

It is clear that our Borough President is willing to throw his borough under the bus whenever it’s convenient for him to do so.

Anonymous said...

See for yourself.


THINK on YOUR life experience in the Bronx.

MEDITATE on what has happened in the passed...what has been promised...and what is the Bronx's present day reality.

Then make your own INFORMED decision....don't go by hearsay.

The M.O.U. is only 5 pages long.

Here's the link to it:

Boogiedowner said...

Thanks for sending the "Memo of Understanding". When I have a moment I will post it for the public to have easy access to it. Here is my first quick response.

As I expected, however a minute fraction is coming from Bronx coffers. The "Bronx Support for the Project" is the following;

1- A $1 million capital grant which will be used for "environmental remediation and land clearance". There making sure, unlike the Board of Education in some of its Bx. deals, that toxins are not an issue before it becomes a food distribution center.

2- A 3 million dollar LOAN - My friends loans are paid back!

3- A $500K grant from the BOEDC.

The real cost to Bronx residents is $1.5 million. The rest is coming from other State and City Agencies and “Authorities” who pump Billions of $ into other city and state projects daily.

I think it is time for you to do the MATH. $1.5 of funds controlled by Bx. elected officials and organization for 3,000 new jobs in the Bx. and a guarantee of a 100% Electronic Truck Fleet by Fresh Direct within 5 years.

What people are upset is that the Bronx finally got something from the pot. Please do keep sending your comments. I am sure many would have loved the other $123 million to go where it usually goes – somewhere other than the Bx.


Anonymous said...

I love how you're only holding the BP accountable for the $1.5 million coming from the Bronx coffers but you neglect to realize that without the support of the Bronx Borough President, this deal would not have moved so smoothly by skipping public hearings BEFORE a deal was announced.

He is accountable for supporting the entire amount of the deal.

Furthermore, you say loans are made to be repaid but have you forgotten that the Yankee stadium parking lots are about to default on the $ 217 million they received from the same city agency? This default will be one of the worst fiscal disasters in decades in city history.

Maybe you should read and share the following :

Boogiedowner said...

I am holding him accountable for the 1.5 million because that is what the "Bronx Portion" is. I will post the MOU sent to me when I have a chance. $1.5 million / 3,000 = $500 per job, with extra benefits such as 100% electric fleet within 5 years, ten trucks right now and synergy with the community. That is the real cost to the Bronx. If the rest was not spent in the Bx., it would have gone some where other than the Bx. as usual.

Are we discussing the Fresh Direct Deal or the Yankee Stadium Deal? When did I advocate for the Parking lot to be built on the BoogieDowner? Are we talking about Fresh Direct or conducting a political hit on Diaz.

In relation to "Welcome2Melrose" I thought Ed was done trying to drive up traffic on his site by posting links to his site on the BoogieDowner. If this is you Ed, again shame on you. I thought we went through this last year. And by the way, no one elected you the Mayor of Melrose or any other section of the Bx.

Please be clear what your argument is. Are you against the Fresh Direct coming the Bx. at a cost to Bx. funds of $1.5 million, or the fact of how the public hearings were conducted?

Anonymous said...

Not sure who Ed is but as far as welcome2melrose is concerned I know for a fact that they had a working relationship with the original boogiedowners.

Your analysis of $500 per job is laughable simply because the full $130 million deal is on tax payers' back so don't go slicing numbers to fit your agenda.
Did I mention you in anything about the other deals? No. This is all relevant information as they are connected to the bigger picture.

The boogiedowner has become a joke since it was handed over to you. It was once a reputable Bronx blog that was engaging and I looked forward to reading every day and engaging with other Bronxites who love our borough. You, however, have turned this into one big advertising company for your real estate business and a bulletin board of press releases with no original thought.

Boogiedowner said...

Dear Anonymous on Paul Lipson:

I have meet and interacted with Paul Lipson on a few occasions when he was Congressman Serrano’s Chief of Staff. I doubt he remembers me; however I remember his professionalism and genuine care for the community. Besides working for a Congressman who is a true protector of the people, Mr. Lipson is a gentleman and a super-star for Hunts Point and the Bronx in general. In the end, I am sure Mr. Lipson will bring about much additional needed change to the Hunts Point area. In an indirect way however, it is a testament to his character and Congressman Serrano’s character that Mr. Lipson must go through the normal channels to secure funds for neighborhood improvement ideas. Keep in mind there is a difference between an idea to fund a project and a going concern like Fresh Direct that is growing exponentially and can provide jobs right here and right know. I assume your organization is not yet active. If I am wrong I apologize. I do hope you send the BoogieDowner information on what your organization is working on. I am sure it’s a great idea that will one day help Hunts Point and the Bronx.

Boogiedowner said...

If you not Ed Garcia the founder of the blog “Welcome2Melrose” why stay Anonymous? Why put a link onto his site on the Boogiedowner? I stand behind what I say by providing my name.

The original founders of the BoogieDowner were Erin and Lou. I was one of their advertisers and when selling their co-op I was also their realtor. Every now and then I post a real estate post. Why not? I don’t assume you plan on sending me a check for the hours I spend posting or going through posts each week. I help spread news based on any free time I can squeeze in.

Again the “Bronx Support for the Project” $1.5 million. The rest is taxpayer money which usually gets sucked out of the Bx. and goes elsewhere. Here are the entities listed in the MOU;

1- Empire State Development Fund
2- New York Power Authority
3- New York State Research and Development Authority
4- New York City Industrial Development Authority
5- The City of New York

Are you concerned your tax dollars are not being used in your neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

I choose to remain anonymous just like everyone else does. I see you haven't asked the same of all the other anonymous.

I posted a link simply because it was an alternative view. Should I have posted a link from a non-bronxite perspective?

Just like Ruben Diaz, Jr and his camp cannot answer the basic questions, neither can you. You are not pointing to anything other than a document that is worth as much as the paper it's written on.

Anonymous said...

P.S. you didn't mention anything about someone posting city island link on here. Interesting.

Boogiedowner said...

I answered your questions clearly in the post and comments made here. You are angry the Bx. got some of your tax $'s to secure a business that will bring electric trucks and jobs to the Bx.; as well as creating synergy for other Hunts Point Businesses helping to secure the annual multi Billion $ food market business in the Bx. You want to use the full $130 million packet rather than what the Bx. BP and BOEDC are really giving, which is $1.5 million in grants and a $3 million loan, to bash Diaz and the BOEDC. I am sure you would have preferred the $ go to a project in your neighborhood. Maybe a BIG FAT J51 tax abatement for the high-rise you have your eye on in Manhattan???? Maybe we should bomb Iran and increase the deficit by another 4 trillion?????

Here is my question to you before I log off;

Do you remember when you had to pass dozens of crack possessed prostitutes often times wearing nothing at all but garage bags to do business in Hunts Point and Parts of Mott Haven? Do you remember when business owners could not go to work without being armed or the when the occasional body part was found when they opened their garbage bins?

Let the businesses and community in Hunts Point and Mott Haven continue to prosper. They got some crumbs from the table of BIG GOVERNMENT. Be happy for them. It’s about time. Whose children do you think fight your well financed wars anyway?

Fair Share said...

We just spent over a hundred million dollars to make sure Newark, NJ doesn't get jobs?

That is a travesty!

We live in an economically integrated region. When we take tax-payer money and use it to pit two economically-depressed communities against each other, the only people who win are those who are already rich. They're laughing at us all the way to the bank.

We did nothing for economic development, because all the profit - plus our tax dollars as well - are being sucked straight out of our communities. Watch your labor go straight into some crony capitalist's bank account.

Thanks for buying into their game, Greg!

Boogiedowner said...

Was it NY or the NJ that sent representatives to steal someone else’s businesses?

If there was no response or action by NYS and NYC, Hunts Point businesses and intern the Bx. economy would be ravaged. Cuomo and Bloomberg stepped in and told NJ this will not happen under their watch. As the expression goes, in this case NY had the bigger “Rabbi”. We should be grateful and REMEMBER how NJ threatened the Hunts Point economy for their benefit. Our BP was offered a plan with very little “skin” in the game, compared to the current and potential benefits, so he signed on. Let’s hope future state and city leaders have the same hand off Bx business mentality.

Some mention we could have hired 4,000 teachers or other great ways to help the community. Unfortunately the funds were not in the control of the DOE or other organizations that fund the programs mentioned. The funds were in the hands of Authorities like The NYS Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York Power Authority. Do these organizations fund the DOE? Do these organizations find park projects?

Fresh Direct Trucks deliver Bronx products to the entire tri-state area. It brings $ into the Bx. In addition, the introduction of electronic trucks if successful will revolutionize trucking. This deal helps make that vision a reality. Remember ten electronic trucks right now and 100% electronic fleet within a 5 year period.

Again what the Bronx got back was a fraction of what goes elsewhere. I would love to see more Bx. projects. Where is our High-line style type project AS WELL?

Fair Share said...

Again, we do not develop the economic health of our communities by shoveling more money into the accounts of the people exploiting our workers.

They underpay us while refusing us the same service they offer to others. Then they threaten our livelihoods and we reward them by giving them taxpayer money that should be going to schools.

And you think that is something to praise?!

Let's be clear: if either New York or New Jersey had the least bit of integrity, they would tell FreshDirect and the other hostage-taking exploiters to take a hike. But the politicians are getting their cut. The only people losing are the exploited workers, the redlined communities, and all the taxpayers who aren't getting the services they paying taxes for.

Next time a corporation threatens to leave for a tax incentive, let them go. They are not contributing to our economic development, and they are corrupting us with their poor work ethic. Good riddance, and more room for honest business in New York!

You're Delusional said...

"Again what the Bronx got back was a fraction of what goes elsewhere."

What The Bronx got was the smog and congestion.

What goes elsewhere is all the benefits of their service.

How in the world could you call that a good deal???