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Bloomberg Makes Armory Dig; Still Against Living Wage Bill
Bronx News Network
Jeanmarie Evelly

January 13, 2011
View the Original Article

Mayor Bloomberg was in the Boogie Down today to announce a new housing initiative (see the story here) at a press conference in Kingsbridge Heights.

In a question-and-answer session afterwards, one reporter asked the Mayor if his stance on the City Council's Living Wage bill has changed, in light of new concessions proponents made this week to make the legislation more appealing to the business community. The Mayor, though, is staying staunch in his opposition.

"The marketplace is telling us that businesses can only afford so much," Bloomberg responded. "I don't think government should be in the businesses of setting wages."

"Here in the Bronx, we had an opportunity to fill a building, and it wasn't done," he continued.

The building in question, of course, is the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory, where Bloomberg had pushed for the development of a shopping mall last winter. The controversial plan was killed by the City Council because the developer, Related Companies, refused to guarantee a living wage pay for workers.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and community groups like the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, were two of the Armory's biggest living wage proponents, and were present at today's press conference.

The living wage legislation that's been proposed in City Council came directly out of the Armory debate; it would require projects that receive taxpayer subsidies over a certain amount to pay workers $10 an hour, plus benefits.

Supporters of the bill are hosting a rally tonight in Harlem at Convent Avenue Baptist Church, 420 W. 145th Street, at 6:30 p.m.