First, I’m NOT going to run for office or even think about a career in politics. I’d much rather be on the business side of helping right a capsized America.
A big part of the problem in America is that politics are just too nasty and the terrible environment scares a lot of good people away.
I also, sure as hell, don’t need anyone shaking down my high-school classmates for dirt on me (the stupid crap we all did as teenagers in high school!) or bringing up the fact I was arrested as a young Navy SEAL for beating up a sheriff deputy in San Diego in 1999.
The short version is that a deputy was manhandling my girlfriend for throwing out a can of beer. We were with friends at the beach. I was designated driver, and a lifeguard asked us to throw away our beverages since a new law had gone into effect that week that said no beer on the beach. When I approached to ask what was going on, Mr. hero deputy jumped me from behind and started to choke me. I pinched his underarm elbow nerve, spun around, and threw an elbow to his face the Rock would have been proud of in his professional wrestling days. His nose erupted like a blood volcano and I spent 1.5 days in jail, it was terrible. The only good thing was that I got respect inside… That’s another story I’ll share later this week. Ok, humblebrag over.
Jail, like modern politics, stinks like a miner’s dirty sweaty underwear.
IF I were to run for mayor I’d do these things.
Start loving on the industries that make New York special. This needs to happen right now. New York City is not dead and will always survive because of tourism. Nevertheless, it’s changing rapidly and the city needs to stop the mass exodus before the demographic shift creates permanent issues. And people are running to Miami like subway rats chasing one-dollar pizza crumbs on the train tracks.
John, a close friend of mine, was trying to keep the lights on in his east village bar until the city clobbered him over the head like a baby fur seal. The city fined him $8,000 for feeding one of his employees insider the bar. John was cooking inside and he gave his employee a meal before he would head home. “Sorry, no indoor dining.”
A fine of $8,000. Think about what that would do to you and me if we were in John’s place. Totally demoralizing. WTF NYC? This is the best you can do?
Bill de Blasio and Cuomo changed the rules weekly and just tortured the F&B industry which is a big part of the heart and soul of NYC. And don’t get me started on building the indoors outdoors and eating brunch in the winter with Bernie mittens. WTF NYC!? You are better than this! I heard that a coalition of restaurant owners banned both politicians from dining in the city. I hope this is true and not an urban legend.
Ok, the BIG problem.
A lot of people that make the city a very special place (artists, creatives, smart-as-fuck people) are leaving the city in hordes.
Also, the very thing that makes New York City fun and exciting is entertainment (broadway, music, jazz, comedy, etc.), incredible restaurants, design, fashion, and the people associated are being neglected.
What’s the plan, mayor? Oh right, there is none.
Ok, time to put my pretend-economist hat on for a minute.
Incentives are important. One of the reasons I made New York City a second home and not the first is that I didn’t want to give the State of New York most of what I make for a living. Below are some incentives that could help the city:
- Create a massive tax break and incentive for landlords, restaurant and entertainment company owners.
- Rent is too high in the city for restaurant owners. Taxes are too high for landlords.
- Give landlords and restaurant owners a massive tax break and tax incentives. The break for landlords would be for renting to restaurant owners and the entertainment industry exclusively. The same goes for Broadway and any entertainment venue.
- We certainly don’t need to see another iconic location like the “Coffee Shop” of Union Square become a heartless ATM bank for Chase.
- The city should grant money for restaurants and the creative industry as a whole.
- Don’t do this and they’ll all be living in Miami
- Make Manhattan a largely pedestrian (and bikes-only) city.
- One of the benefits of the pandemic was that it was fun (and safe) to walk and bike around Manhattan. Get rid of the vehicles (except during late hours to re-stock shops) and make more green space.
- Make NYC the best tourist destination city in the world by legalizing gambling. Imagine that wasteland of commercial office space with incredible skyline views becoming an adult playground of gambling, music, shows and other (fill in the blank) entertainment.
- Create a Federal tax exemption for all residents of Manhattan and nearby neighborhoods.
- Every resident should pay no Federal tax while still paying the normal NYC tax. Median tax rates would be somewhere around 10 percent, I think? Not a bad gig and why I make beautiful Puerto Rico, U.S.A. my home. Imagine: if Puerto Rico can do it New York can do it too.
Out of all of these things, the tax exemption is likely to have the biggest effect on speeding up New York City’s recovery. If I were to pick just two things I’d go with the tax exemptions and I’d make NYC pedestrian-only.
PS: I’d actually vote for Yang if I could. He’s super smart and NYC needs super smart right now.
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