Friday, September 20, 2013

Fresh approach to Fresh Direct

The all but assumed elevation of Bill de Blasio has been given a distinct flavor for opponents of the corporate welfare deal orchestrated by Mike Bloomberg for his friends the Ackermans at Fresh Direct. De Blaio has no love for this kind of cronyism:
“Fresh Direct would never have gotten more than $100 million in government subsidies to stay in New York City if he ran City Hall, Bill de Blasio said Thursday. The Democratic mayoral nominee said his administration would remove subsidies from large companies such as Fresh Direct and “give them to smaller companies.”
But is it too late to stop this obscene give away? No one is sure-not even the opponents of the subsidy:
“It would be difficult — if not impossible — for de Blasio to rewind the clock on contracts signed and sealed by the Bloomberg Administration. But de Blasio could try to undo deals still in the pipeline after 2014 if he becomes mayor. Fresh Direct is receiving $89 million from the city and $38 million in other government funding to build a 500,000-square-foot warehouse in the South Bronx that is scheduled to open in 2016.”
The NY Daily News is skeptical:
“It’s highly unlikely that a Mayor de Blasio would be able to kill the deal. Contracts have been signed, and the company’s new facility, in the South Bronx, is slated to open in 2016. A Fresh Direct spokesman defended the deal, saying it would “create 1,000 new jobs in the nation’s poorest congressional district.” 
The job creation is pure smoke and mirrors because, as is the case with all of these boondoggles, there’s never any cost analysis done-and subsidizing a delivery business will take away revenue from neighborhood markets. There is also the fact that there is a state subsidy as well-and a Mayor de Blasio could negotiate this away if he wants to play a little hard ball with the governor.

But all of this, of course, raises questions about whither the Willets Point deal under a new mayor. Will de Blasio be comfortable giving away $200 million worth of property for a mall with low wage retail workers not protected by a living wage agreement? That’s an interesting questions that awaits an answer from the working class warrior headed to Gracie Mansion.