FRESH DIRECT FACES LOCAL OPPOSITION

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This Thursday, June 27th at 5:30 pm, Freshdirect will appear before Bronx Community Board 1. It will present a plan to move into that local community. Activist Shannon Lee Gilstad of Bronx Movers and Shakers is seeking citizens to demand answers.

"We need everyone available to come to that meeting, not to disrupt, but to demand the facts be made public. The biggest advantage we've always had are the facts. Let's not allow another polluting industry to come to our community with lies of how they will bring salvation."

She is asking COMMUNITY BOARD 1 - to say not to FRESHDIRECT’S PROPOSED MODIFICATION OF THE LAND USE PLAN AT HARLEM RIVER YARDS, claiming the following:

1) FRESHDIRECT WOULD BRING NEARLY 1,000 DIESEL TRUCK TRIPS THROUGH OUR NEIGHBORHOOD EVERY DAY, WHERE ASTHMA RATES ARE ALREADY 8 TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IN THE SOUTH BRONX HAS ASTHMA, SAY NO TO FRESHDIRECT!

FreshDirect will try to focus your attention on one particular hour’s worth of traffic, but there will be diesel trucks running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their truck route maps are not even accurate – they have their trucks going the wrong way down one way streets. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

FreshDirect will give lots of promises of converting to a “green fleet”, but those are just promises. When Hurricane Sandy destroyed more than 100 of their trucks last October, they had the opportunity to convert to electric, but they did not. The 10 electric trucks they claim as evidence of their green commitment are 100% taxpayer funded. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

Ten years ago, Congressman Serrano sponsored the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study, which exposed the link between the asthma crisis in the South Bronx and the community’s over-saturation of industrial facilities and highways. The solution was open space – not more city-subsidized projects bringing more trucks. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

The reason the community lost the lawsuit against FreshDirect (even though we are considering appeal) is because the judge said that a 20 year old environmental impact statement was good enough for our community. We continue to say that it is not. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

2) FRESHDIRECT WOULD RECEIVE A $127 MILLION SUBSIDY TO CREATE LOW WAGE, PART TIME JOBS. SAY NO TO FRESHDIRECT!

FreshDirect often cites an “average” wage of $11.25, but they do not explain how the majority of their recent job postings were for $8/hour part time positions. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

FreshDirect has a disturbing record of unfair labor and employee discrimination claims, and they do not accept employees with a criminal record. SAY NO to FreshDirect!
FreshDirect spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying city council and the mayor to be excluded from the living wage legislation, which says that any private development project accepting $1 million or more in taxpayer subsidies must pay employees a living wage of $10/hour with supplemental health benefits or $11.50/hour without benefits. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

Imagine if 127 small businesses in the South Bronx received a $1 million subsidy package each! Our local businesses, who have been employing our local residents for decades deserve a subsidy – not a company like FreshDirect, which is run by a former investment banker. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

Only $19 Million of the $127 Million subsidy is attached to job creation. So, if no jobs are created, they still get to keep more than $100 Million in subsidies. SAY NO to FreshDirect!

3) FRESHDIRECT IS AN OVERPRICED GROCERY WAREHOUSE THAT IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OUR LOCAL GROCERY STORES. SAY NO TO FRESHDIRECT!

In the company’s ten year history, they never bothered to deliver to our zip code until we made that an issue and a rational disagreement for the subsidies.
FreshDirect’s prices are inflated. If you were to go grocery shopping at Western Beef for 3 pounds of ground beef chuck, 2 dozen eggs, 2 pounds of ground turkey, a 2 pound bag of onions, 2 sixteen ounce bags of black beans and a pound of strawberries, you would pay $21.03. The exact same food basket would cost $46.78 at FreshDirect – more than double!

Current acceptance of food stamps is only a pilot program, which is not permanent and is only offered to our zip code to lure our community into accepting 1,000 daily diesel truck trips.

4) FRESHDIRECT WOULD DESTROY THE POTENTIAL FOR A VIBRANT SOUTH BRONX WATERFRONT. SAY NO TO FRESHDIRECT!

The Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan was just placed on the list of high priority projects by The New York City - Region 2 Advisory Committee for the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan – a move that would preserve as open space seven interconnected projects lining the South Bronx shoreline, including the Bronx Kill Waterfront Park, the Park Avenue Boat Launch, the Lincoln Avenue Waterfront Park (with Alexander Avenue Extension), the East 132nd Street Pier, the Historic Port Morris Gantries and an overall connecting path. The full plan is available here.
The high priority status of the project was made following a series of meetings led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) with representatives from all five borough presidents’ offices and the New York City Departments of Parks and Recreation, Environmental Protection and City Planning, among others.
Hurricane Sandy demonstrated that we have to have a creative new vision for our waterfront, where we already have a 5,000 ton per day waste transfer station, a fossil fuel power plant and other truck-intensive warehouses that are designed to benefit Manhattan – not us.

She adds that this NEIGHBORHOOD DESERVES SOMETHING BETTER THAN THE SAME OLD PROMISES. SAY NO TO FRESHDIRECT!