The YMCA & Panera: A Double Standard

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As many residents have heard, Panera Bread is coming to the City of Glen Cove. Bringing with it 25 jobs and a drive-through, the arrival of Panera is positive news. Mayor Reggie Spinello has repeatedly pointed to this arrival as proof that Glen Cove is doing well, and as a further sign that his “Open for Business” campaign worked. Unfortunately, the credit the mayor has taken in the imminent arrival of Panera Bread also serves to showcase to the community how poorly and purposely harmful he is acting in regards to the YMCA.

The mayor has repeatedly stated, “The Y is not a city issue,” primarily using the logic that the property leased by the YMCA is not owned by the City of Glen Cove. The mayor is right, the YMCA property is not owned by the city. Neither is the Panera Bread property. To be clear, I believe the mayor is correct in trumpeting the arrival of Panera; 25 jobs and a national franchise with 1,800 locations coming to Glen Cove is good news. The reality, though, is that Panera Bread provides only a fraction of the jobs the YMCA offers. The reality, though, is that the same excuse Reggie Spinello has said prevents him from getting involved in the YMCA negotiations (negotiations between two private entities) has not once prevented him from taking credit for the arrival of Panera Bread—therein lies the double standard.

The mayor’s refusal to do anything to keep the YMCA in Glen Cove is extremely alarming. The only thing more alarming than Spinello’s refusal to do anything about the YMCA is how badly it contrasts with everything he claims he did to bring Panera. If Reggie Spinello worked so hard to bring Panera and its 25 jobs to Glen Cove, then why does he refuse to do the same for the YMCA and its 250 jobs? The YMCA, an organization with 50 percent more U.S. locations than Panera, 900 percent more jobs in Glen Cove than Panera, and 64 more years serving the community than Panera, is getting 0 percent of the effort from Mayor Reggie Spinello in its quest to remain in Glen Cove.

The arrival of Panera Bread is positive news. However, the mayor’s refusal to work on keeping the YMCA like he claims he did in attracting Panera is not. Like the YMCA, the Panera deal was between two private entities. If that didn’t stop him from working to attract Panera, it shouldn’t stop him with the YMCA. If it does, then maybe Spinello’s slogan should be changed to “Glen Cove, Selectively Open for Business.”

—Adam Ramadan

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is very odd indeed. So much fanfare for 25 minimum wage jobs and no concern for the destabilization of an historic community focus that has been the magnet and the memory for generations? I understand that there are also about 250 jobs of various levels at stake at the Y. Can there be some unspoken private interest behind this illogical and incoherent situation? Most definitely a case that is asking for more light.

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