Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Times, BTM and the Mayor

Thanks to Ben Smith at the Politicker for linking our post on the Times expose of the BTM deal. His comments were also on point when he indicated how the concocting of the deal by Dan Doctoroff needed to be laid at the doorstep of the mayor and his laissez faire governing style.

The key unresolved issue is still the relocation of the illegally evicted merchants. Given the exposure of the unprecedented municipal emoluments given to the Related Companies isn't a bit unseemly for the Bloombergistas to claim that the city has absolutely no obligations to the merchants who have operated out of the BTM for decades? Does the Mayor feel, as the flacks for Related have argued, that the $7 million get out of Dodge money proffered to the BTM firms is "generous?"

What is clear, as Smith points out, is that absent the presence of Dan Doctoroff in this administration there would be no Related in the BTM deal. The Times, in demonstrating that Doctoroff had unvolunteered his voluntary recusal from any dealings with Steve Ross and Related, underscored what we have always suspected about volunteers in the Bloomberg administration: they are generally well-compensated one way or another, giving a whole new meaning to the term volunteer.

Whither Freddy?

The Times story also underscored the fact that, as far as the shenanigans at the BTM are concerned, Freddy Ferrer definitely has lockjaw. In fact, the Times held the piece off for three weeks while waiting for Ferrer to comment. The fact that he abstained in the face of a story that seriously questioned the ethics of Bloomberg’s administration indicates just how compromised a candidate he is. It was as if he were running 29 points ahead. Who's running this campaign?

Can anyone imagine Anthony Weiner taking the same quiescent posture in a matter that has this kind of potentially explosive political impact? The BTM deal, if properly exploited, could highlight the hypocrisy of the mayor's claim to be beyond the pull of special interests. It could go a long way toward demonstrating just how much the current administration exhibits a propensity towards "patricianage."

The fact of the matter is that this BTM precedent could mean that this or any other administration could evict the tenants of the Brooklyn Terminal Market, the Hunts Point Meat and Produce Markets, all because of the alleged authority of Commissioner Walsh. Does anyone seriously believe that the city has this power – to, in effect, abrogate the property rights of longstanding tenants – because some friend of a deputy mayor has a "better and higher use" for the site?