THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM FRANQUIN LEON (FRANKI'S GRILL) APPEARED IN THE 8/2/18 EDITION OF THE GAZETTE. IT IS REPRINTED HERE WITH THE WRITER'S PERMISSION:
|OPENING DAY '14, CLICK ON THE PHOTO
TO THE EDITOR:
My business has been serving Croton for almost 5 years. I bought a rundown deli and put my life savings into making it a happy place. I hired a Croton High School student to paint Croton-themed murals on my walls. I employ 5 people, including 2 Croton residents. My business generates commercial property taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes.
I came here from Ecuador. My 2 children are American citizens and I am on the path to becoming an American. I am not here just to make money.
I work hard and I want to help my community. I have supported many groups. Some of them are the cheerleaders, baseball, soccer, and the Library. I have given reduced price lunches to children. I don’t have a lot of money but I do try to help everybody who needs help.
I treat other people with respect, and I believe that I have earned the right to be treated with respect. I am here in Croton every day. If someone wants to talk to me, they can do that.
i am not here to fight or make controversy. I don’t take political sides and anybody who knows me knows that. Everybody is welcome at Franki’s and it does not matter who you support for politics.
My name was brought into the political debate about plastic bags by a Croton resident who did not talk to me.
I ask people if they want a bag, and most students say no. I also have paper bags which can hold a sandwich and soda. My landlord has a paper recycling container and I put my cardboard in to be recycled. When the people came to me and talked about the bag petition, I thought it sounded like a good idea and that is why I agreed to sign it. I thought signing the petition was the right thing to do and not a political statement.
A speaker who spoke at the Croton Trustees’ meeting last week criticized my business. This resident says she won’t come in to my store, and that is her right. I am not pushing her to come in to my store, or anybody else. But this person never spoke to me about her criticism before discussing it at the public meeting.
I am a father. I tell my children to talk with people if they have a disagreement. It is not fair to drag my name into politics, especially if you have not talked to me. And I am not just saying this about my business: we should support all our Croton businesses because if we just criticize and boycott then we will end up with no business in Croton. People should remember that Croton businesses support Croton school activities and Croton charities because we are proud to be part of this community.
If you want to talk to me, please stop by and I will be happy to address whatever concerns you may have.
Franquin Leon, owner of Franki’s Grill, Croton-on-Hudson