Friday, September 18, 2020

150 NYC Business Leaders Pen Letter to de Blasio Asking that Order Be Restored

A New York City Real Estate CEO is spearheading an effort to restore order in the city as coronavirus and severe lockdown policies have left it in shambles, with violent protests taking place and trash and homeless people lining the streets.

RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler told CNBC last week that the city cannot count on a bailout from federal government and that “the city’s leadership needs to be proactive in charting a path forward despite its budgetary challenges.”

The CNBC report detailed a letter sent by 150 like-minded business leaders who said the city is quickly losing its status as the center of the U.S. financial sector:

“The answer can’t be, simply, that we’re waiting for the federal government to give us funding because it’s not just about money, it’s about management,” Rechler said on “Squawk Box.” “If our city was being managed better and things weren’t wasteful, people like me, who have the benefits of the city, have no problem paying more taxes to have a more vibrant, more equal city for everyone. But the concern right now is we don’t have leadership that’s managing the city effectively.”

Rechler was among a group of more than 150 business leaders — from Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon to Robin Hayes of JetBlue — who sent a letter to Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expressing concerns about the current condition of the country’s biggest city.

Published Thursday, the letter said there is “widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs.” It also read, “people will be slow to return unless their concerns about security and the livability of our communities are addressed quickly and with respect and fairness for our city’s diverse populations.”

De Blasio’s office issued a statement that said that business leaders should work with him “to lobby Albany for borrowing authorization to cover operating costs, as well as for federal stimulus.”

“New York City has seen steep declines in tax revenue related to the pandemic and it has led to billions of dollars in budget cuts, including a more than $100 million cut to the city’s sanitation department, according to the New York Daily News,” CNBC reported.

But Rechler is not impressed with the city’s direction.

“We don’t have a plan to build a better, brighter future for our city like we did post-9/11 and it’s eerily scary,” he said.

The CNBC report noted that in July New York City had a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of nearly 20%.

New York City has also seen an uptick of violence this summer, with the number of murders between May and August up more than 51 percent compared with last year, according to The New York Times.

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