Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio stood in front of Haveli, an Indian cuisine restaurant located at 116-33 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, on Friday to lay out his proposed changes to the city’s approach to small immigrant businesses.
“The bottom line is, we have a lot tobe proud of as New Yorkers but we need to make sure our economy works for everyone,” said de Blasio, who toured small businesses throughout the city last week. “We need to make sure that there is opportunity for everyone.”
The current front runner — now with a 6 percent lead on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week — laid out five steps that need to be taken to better improve the relationship between city agencies and immigrant business owners.
“My office did a study a few years back and found that a vast majority of immigrant-owned small businesses have not had a positive experience with the city government,” he said. “All they knew is that someone would show up to inspect their businesses and then usually fine them.”
De Blasio’s plan includes placing economic development hubs in at least 12 immigrant and low-income neighborhoods where business owners can access city services more conveniently, better access to credit and entrepreneurship training, and make more opportunities for small businesses to apply for city contracts and regulation of inspection fines.
“This is an issue I have worked on for years as public advocate,” he said. “You can see immediately that immigrant-owned businesses are a large part of the fabric of the community but also a growing boost to our economy.”
The candidate added that large government subsidies for big companies need to be re-directed into a loan fund for small businesses looking to expand.
De Blasio said that by definition, immigrant-owned small businesses are in neighborhoods all over the five boroughs, including areas where there is a need for job creation at the grassroots level.
Strengthening the line of communication between immigrant-owned small businesses and city agencies is just one of the ways de Blasio is looking to end the “tale of two cities” he said has caused a great divide between socioeconomic classes.
The candidate went on to criticize the city’s inspection procedures, a practice that many of the Democratic candidates have called unfair to outerborough small businesses.
“In some areas in the Bloomberg administration there has been great development in offering services in a number of languages but it has been a very mixed bag,” de Blasio said. “A lot of fines could have been avoided if we informed owners in a language that they understand.”
After speaking with reporters, the public advocate sat down with Indian community leaders to enjoy lunch provided by Haveli and discuss in further detail the issues that are affecting immigrant-owned small businesses, specifically in the Indian community.
De Blasio takes the lead
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has taken the lead among Democratic hopefuls for mayor, according to the results of a new Quinnipiac poll issued on Tuesday.
De Blasio polled at 30 percent with four weeks to go before the Sept. 10 primary. Council Speaker and longtime frontrunner Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) is at 24 percent, with former comptroller and 2009 nominee Bill Thompson at 22 percent.
Anthony Weiner came in at 10 percent, with Comptroller John Liu at 6 and former Councilman Sal Albanese (D-Brooklyn) at 1 percent with 7 percent undecided.
De Blasio polls ahead in all matchups for a Democratic runoff, beating Quinn 54 to 38 percent and Thompson 50 to 41. He would bury Weiner, 72 to 22.
Among those polled who are critical of the NYPD’s stop-and frisk policy, 34 percent back de Blasio, with 24 supporting Thompson and 22 percent for Quinn.
Thompson, who had been down around 25 percent of the African-American vote in some polls, was up to 39 percent in the Quinnipiac survey.