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January 29, 2009

This is a flyer from the Fulton Area Community Crier I received in the ‘hood and I’m going on record to co-sign:






The country’s broke so President Obama’s cutting taxes. The city’s broke so Mayor Bloomberg’s raising taxes- and in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill doubling on a super tax, otherwise called the Fulton Street Business Improvement District (BID).


The BID is a hit on stores badly hurt from years of street and sidewalk destruction. Through the BID, the Department of Finance plans to collect $80/month from property owners for every 20 feet of frontage on Fulton; the fee can increase every year. Too bad if you can’t afford it. Pay or else…The BID can bust you.


Six years ago Mayor Bloomberg and partner Forest City Ratner Companies(FCRC) launched their Atlantic Yards attack on Prospect Heights; they thought the neighborhood would be caught off guard and defenseless. Now it’s our turn to fight off the Mayor and Pratt Area Community (PACC) on target Fulton street.


PACC says it has worked for eight years preparing the BID, yet when Fulton Area Community Corps(FACC) went door-to-door-to-door in November to explain how the BID would work, merchants were taken by surprise. When they heard they’d be charged for security and sanitation, banners no one notices, holiday lights and homeless services and decorator garbage cans; when they heard they’d be paying the $60,000 salary of a “District Manager”, they said “No”. FACC got a mountain of “No” votes from Rockwell place to Classon avenue, the stretch the BID looks to claim.


They voted “No” because they already pay for police and don’t want to pay unarmed guards on part-time patrol. They voted “No” because they already pay for sanitation and still sweep the sidewalks themselves. They voted “No” because they don’t want custom garbage cans, just regular ones and more of them. They voted “No” because they’re struggling to stay afloat and don’t feel like paying someone a salary greater then their own and benefits they don’t have themselves. And they voted “No” because they became angry they found out if they chose not to pay the BID, the City would come after their property. They voted “NO BID!”. They voted “Yes, We Can Stand and Fight!”.


That’s how the FACC got 160 “No” voted in three weeks. We proudly took them to the City Clerk’s Office to be counted. The City Clerk threw them out.


The Mayor was pleased. PACC was pleased; Here comes the BID! There goes the little balloon corner, the little Chinese takeouts and nail salons, the Arab dollar stores, there goes the Korean dry cleaner, there goes the Jamaican patty palace…


The Mayor and PACC don’t go on Fulton street so they don’t see the “NO BID!” signs in the windows, don’t hear the voices, “No You Can’t!” Not here. Not to us.


Fulton Area Community Crier is a publication of Fulton Area Community Corps serving Wallabout, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford Stuyvesant.


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