Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bronx Terminal Market, Hubris and the Assault on Local Business

The results of a five month study of Mayor Bloomberg’s economic development policies are in and, according to Jonathan Bowles of the Center for an Urban Future, the mayor’s vision has habitually led to the eviction of local businesses. Julie Satow’s examination of this issue, in this morning’s New York Sun, is a must read as is the Bowles analysis.

Terminal Market “Emblematic”

According to Bowles, the plans for the BTM are “emblematic of the problems with the Bloomberg Administration.” This point of view, reflecting much of our commentary on the subject, is seconded by former planning commissioner Ron Shiffman, now at the Pratt Institute for Community and Environmental Development, who points out that better planning could have easily led to the redevelopment accommodating the existing market merchants. Shiffman labeled the process, the no-bid gift to Related, as exemplary of the “hubris of people who believe what they are doing is right.”

Mayor’s Flack Spouts Incoherence

In response to the criticism, Jennifer Falk, the mayor’s spokesperson (sounding like Peter Seller’s Chauncey Gardiner in “Being There”) spouts non sequiturs about “diversifying our economy” and making NYC more “business friendly.” This is a classic response of someone who won’t deal with specific criticism – in this case insensitivity to local business and political cronyism for Steve Ross – and is forced to change the subject in the hope that the misdirection will alter the attention spans of an inattentive public. Jennifer, the day of reckoning is coming for the mayor and Dan Doctoroff in this awful boondoggle.

Loss of Manufacturing

Also in the Sun story are the comments of Adam Friedman of the New York Industrial Retention Network who cites that the mayor’s overall redevelopment scheme will put “14,000 blue collar jobs at risk.” The resulting “economic revival,” if we are not careful, will lead to the replacement of good paying, family sustaining jobs with low wage retail work below the wage levels of the current unionized workforce. In the process of this “Wal-Martization,” however, the favored developers will make out like bandits.