Inhospitable De Blasio Goes After Quinn

The NY Times is reporting about the growing battle between Speaker Quinn and Public Advocate de Blasio on the question of helping small business. We have already commenting critically on the speaker’s uncomfortable proximity to the mayor-and in particular, the fact that mayoral representatives were present at her press conference.

When you invite folks from the most small business adverse administration in memory to an event claiming to be the introduction of an initiative in favor of these threatened entrepreneurs you have to anticipate a great deal of skepticism-and de Blasio hits the speaker with both barrels:

“Speaking at a breakfast event for a prominent civic group, Mr. de Blasio also attacked a mayoral rival, Speaker of the , for proposing a set of small-business reforms that he dismissed as “a joke,” and he chastised Ms. Quinn for declining to challenge Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on the issue.”


Case in point was the following remarks at the Quinn presser from a mayoral appointee:

“Tokumbo Shobowale, who was appointed earlier this year by the mayor as the city’s chief business operations officer, said the administration has made major progress in helping small businesses during the past 10-plus years, “but there’s a lot we need to do.”

Mr. Shobowale said this package of measures, which the mayor supports, will help create jobs and boost the city’s economy. “This really is a partnership between government and the private sector,” he said.”

When you’re launching an effort to lift small business you need to begin with an attack on the policies of the last ten years-and not with an embrace of its representatives. PA de Blasio is spot on:

“Mr. de Blasio has reached out to small-business groups in recent weeks, and he criticized a recent plan by Speaker Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg to simplify regulation of city businesses. “What the mayor and the speaker did was lip service,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters after his speech.

“They don’t really intend to change it, and they should just come out and say that,” Mr. de Blasio said. Of Ms. Quinn, he added, “She is clearly not challenging the mayor, and working with him to continue a bad policy.”

Instead of responding directly to the criticism, Quinn dragged out Rob Bookman to respond and give her cover:

“Ms. Quinn’s office referred an inquiry about Mr. de Blasio’s speech to Robert Bookman, a lawyer who often represents the hospitality industry in disputes with the city. Mr. Bookman said he was disappointed to hear Mr. de Blasio dismiss an effort that he said would help small-business owners.

“He should be careful who he’s insulting when he does this kind of stuff,” Mr. Bookman said of the public advocate.”

It is, however, Bookman who should be careful-and Andrew Ridgie of the Restaurant Association needs to tread softly about placing the interests of its members in this one political basket. Bookman, a former city functionary, doesn’t represent the thousands of small businesses in the city and the narrow scope of Quinn’s press conference invitees dramatically underscores this.

In addition, there are over 8,000 minority owned restaurants that the Ridgie group has never represented-and if they keep up this dalliance with Bloomberg and Quinn they never will. What this signals is that the small business community needs to be better represented by people who will not sell their interests out for short term-and short sighted-gain. With the 2013 election cycle almost upon us, it is imperative that this gets done soon.


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