NYC Mayoral Forum

Q & A with Democratic Mayoral Candidate Randy Credico
By Tyler Pager

Do you support the culture of fining that has existed under the current administration?

No. Absolutely not.  That would come to an end. For huge chains like Hard Rock Cafe–maybe– but these extravagant fines that are levied on food carts and small restaurants are unjust. All these small businesses are really subsidizing Wall Street and the banks and the big real estate firms.

These three big industries would pay their fare share of taxes that run New York City’s political machines. It’s like the time going up to the French Revolution where only the small bourgeois merchants were paying taxes and the nobles with all the big estates and the clergy, which had all the real estate, were paying no taxes. So they have to pay their fair share.

If the current system of fines is not the answer, then how do you effectively enforce regulations?

Well you want clean restaurants, but to heavily tax [restaurant owners] beyond what they can pay is the same as taxing a taxi driver $300 for getting too far away from the curb and he has to work all day to pay that. A guy with a food cart has to work two days to pay one of his $500 fine–three days maybe. A reasonable fine would be fine, but it’s got to be the kind of income that the restaurant or the food cart makes so it’s not punitive to the smaller guy. You have to find a balance here.

How do you clarify for restaurant owners the regulations that pertain to them?

The system is very corrupt. A lot of people are out there shaking down restaurant owners. You certainly want people to comply. It’s a difficult business. The restaurant business is very difficult to make any money. I know because I used to be a waiter and a busboy and it’s hard work and even the owners don’t make that much money. But, you have to bring in people from the industry and employees and you sit down and you come up with solutions that everyone agrees to and make it more democratic rather than it just be a disguised unfair tax on small businesses like restaurants.

How would you enhance or reform the Department of Small Business Services and/ or the Small Business Acceleration Team?

I would bring in people from small businesses. People from Washington Heights and people from Jamaica, Queens –

I would have these guys come in there and come up with regulations rather than it just be some business man from Wall Street running the Small Business. 

The current administration does not have any staffer dedicated to hospitality. If you were elected, would you add some sort of hospitality office be it a liaison, deputy mayor, or staffer?

I am definitely a huge supporter of a Department of Hospitality.

What are your views on the paid sick-leave legislation?

I believe in the paid-sick leave. If a guy is sick, you don’t want him coughing up germs on the food. If it’s a small business, like 15 people or less, than the city would find a way to pay for the sick leave and not the business.

How would you streamline the permit process for restaurants and/or alcohol licenses?

There is so much red tape and it’s all controlled by the community boards and they are certainly under the thumb of the Borough Presidents and it’s a very corrupt process. There’s got to be a way to amend the law to encourage more small business to open without having to go through so much red tape. I definitely want to make it easier for restaurants to open in the city.

How would you work with borough presidents to ensure restaurants have a fair hearing at the community boards?

I’d put a lot of pressure on them. Remember these people–the borough presidents–they’re elected officials and they’ve got a job. They’ve got a job for four years and benefits and everything and we’re talking about small businesses that are trying to open and employ six–eight–10–12 employees and they need those jobs. Once these guys get into office they forget how difficult it is to find a job right now. You need to put the pressure on the other borough presidents to create more jobs for the community as long as they are not counterproductive to the health of the community.

What are your views on the mandatory calorie postings?

It’s intrusive and unnecessary and most people ignore them. The average person that goes into a Burger King and McDonald doesn’t even look at them. If you’re putting on weight, then you can change your diet. You can’t jam instructions on what to eat. It creates another bureaucracy in the city and there are much bigger problems that the city has to deal with than enforcing calorie counts.

Digital Issue