Praises him as champion of small business
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Two weeks after he was endorsed by state Sen. Diane Savino, mayoral candidate Bill Thompson has picked up his second endorsement from a major figure in Coney Island politics. Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island-Bay Ridge) stood next to Thompson on the boardwalk Tuesday morning and said he was supporting his bid for City Hall.
Calling him “our great friend Billy Thompson,” Brook-Krasny said he was endorsing the former city comptroller because he believed Thompson would be “a wonderful supporter of small businesses” and that he would be “helpful to the people of Coney Island” who are still trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy.
Savino (D-Coney Island-Bensonhurst-Staten Island) had cited Thompson’s hurricane preparedness plan for neighborhoods like Coney Island as a major reason for her endorsement two weeks ago. In June, following a walking tour of Seagate, Thompson issued a plan he said would help prepare the city’s coastal communities for natural disasters.
In the days following the storm, Thompson was out in Coney Island handing out sandwiches, according to Brook-Krasny, who said the candidate continues to work with local officials. “He’s helping us so much in so many different directions. That’s why I think Billy Thompson is the next great mayor for small businesses,” the assemblyman said as he and Thompson stood outside Tom’s Coney Island, a popular diner on the famous boardwalk.
Thompson said he admired Brook-Krasny’s dedication to getting Coney Island back on its feet following Sandy. “He was out there from the first moment making sure people got what they needed,” Thompson said.
Thompson used the endorsement announcement as a jumping off point to talk about his “Bringing Business Back” plan to assist owners of small businesses get back on their feet faster in the event of another disaster. In the wake of Sandy last October, “hundreds of businesses along New York’s shoreline closed,” Thompson said. “One in four never reopened,” he said.
His proposal, which he called a “common sense” plan, would include outreach to minority and women owned small businesses and a doubling of the numbers of key staff members at both the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Small Business Services. The staff additions would be done before a disaster strikes. That way, Thompson said, the personnel and structure would already be in place to help the business owners in the event of a storm.
The Bloomberg Administration didn’t do that with Superstorm Sandy, Thompson said. “The people out here are fighting that battle each and every day. The city wasn’t there for them. They were there for each other,” he said adding that Coney Island residents assisted each other and worked with local officals to get through the devastation the storm brought.
The city didn’t coordinate efforts with non-profit groups who were willing to help, Thompson said. “The non-profits did a great job, but they got no direction,” he said.
His plan also includes a program to help facilitate loans to business owners to give them “basic support to get back up and running,” he said.
Brook-Krasny, who owned a children’s entertainment center prior to entering politics, said that as a small business owner he believed it was important “to have a mayor who understands small businesses.”
Thompson said that as mayor he would take steps to ease the financial burden on owners of small businesses all over the city. “They’re feeling under siege because they are under siege,” he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle while he was waiting for Brook-Krasny to arrive at the press conference.
There are too many fines levied against small businesses caught in an unfair system of bothersome and inconsistent regulations, he charged. “It has become about raising revenue instead of safety and serving customers. We used to give business owners a warning. Now we give them a fine,” he said.
Thompson is part of a crowded field of Democrats running in the Sept. 10 primary. The candidates include City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former congressman Anthony Weiner, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, and former Bay Ridge councilman Sal Albanese.