Citing recent studies showing that the South Bronx is suffering a clear burden from dirty industries leading to its residents having 8x the national rate of asthma and 21x the hospitalization rate in New York City for the ailment, New York Governor Cuomo and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr said in a joint statement that they will be pulling all support and funding from FreshDirect’s Bloomberg-era sweetheart deal.
“After years of overwhelming community outcry against this project and their demand and right to a new environmental impact statement instead of relying on a 22 year old one, my office cannot support this project in good conscience any longer,” said Diaz, Jr.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr continued by saying, “Our residents are dying from asthma related issues, can’t get to work because their children can’t breathe. The parents can’t breathe. To quote former Community Board 1 member and community activist Mychal Johnson, ‘If you can’t breathe, you can’t work.” he added when asked what about the promised jobs FreshDirect would bring.
“We don’t even know if they’ll keep their promise to convert their fleet to electric since they’ve had several opportunities to do so but instead chose to purchase 10 new diesel trucks in the past few months and after superstorm Sandy destroyed over 100 FreshDirect trucks, the decided to dump them on our waterfront and purchase diesel instead of electric.” Diaz added.
$140+ Million To Be Diverted to Small Businesses and Job Training Programs
Governor Cuomo added by saying, “This is not true, progressive, economic development for our poorest county in the great State of New York, where the poorest congressional district of the country is located.”
“We need to support not only living wage jobs but also fund programs that will equip our most at-risk residents with the necessary tools to make a decent living and rise out from poverty”, added Cuomo.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on the promise that he would kill such sweetheart deals like FreshDirect’s said that, “I am grateful for Governor Cuomo and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr in working with our offices to find a solution to ending this deal that provided corporate welfare to a company that is flush with capital while our small businesses, our mom and pop shops—the lifeblood of our wonderful city—are struggling to survive. The over $140 million in grants and tax subsidies can have a bigger economic positive impact by investing in our communities.”
“In the long run, reinvesting this money back into small businesses and educational programs to create a better prepared workforce for the people of The Bronx will create a bigger return on investment than the promise of 1,000 jobs which may or may not come given that Amazon Direct and Google are aggressively entering the New York City market,” continued de Blasio.
Other Concerns Cited
Some of the other reasons cited for the decision to cancel the FreshDirect deal was the fact that the proposed headquarters was to be located on tidal wetlands which are sensitive ecosystems and the building of such a facility on this site when there is a call for greater coastal resiliency is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.
The existence of a Native American burial site and former village at the Harlem River Yards was of sensitive, cultural concerns to which Cuomo issued a formal apology to the Native American people in his statement earlier today.
Several recent studies showing possible connections between pollution and childhood leukemia, ADHD, and autism was a risk, “…we just cannot take with our residents.” said Diaz.
According to Governor Cuomo, he will direct the Department of Environmental Conservation to grant necessary funding to make the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan a reality, something the agency already made a priority project to consider.
“The Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan is a true, grassroots community effort from the ground up which represents the types of community leadership we need.” said de Blasio. “It not only provides area residents with waterfront resiliency but greater access to the waterfront, something that is taken for granted in Manhattan and the other boroughs yet residents of the South Bronx are cut off from. Through the increase of pedestrian traffic heading to the waterfront it will also creating a positive impact for the many businesses located along the way.”
If You Read This Far…
…you will know that this is satire and nothing of the sort happened and was written for April Fool’s Day—but the harm and the concerns are not satire and is an all too real reality the area’s residents live under. Although it hasn’t happened, it doesn’t mean it can’t and all the concerns listed are real and verifiable.
The Bronx deserves the best not just better and this deal will provide no benefit to the residents directly impacted by the plan but will exacerbate their already precarious health issues.
Keep up with the latest information and updates on this issue here including the upcoming court date as the South Bronx Vs FreshDirect continues.
Our politicians continue to tell you that this is a done deal, the media continues to tell you that it is a done deal but it isn’t. The fact that we are able to continue to navigate the legal system proves that there is more to this story than we are being told.