Friday, December 09, 2005

Bronx Gravy Train Continued

In a follow up to thisstory Bill Egbert is reporting in today's Daily News that other Bronx pols have been recipients of Related's cash bonanza. As the UFCW's Regional Director Richard Whalen comments, "Money can't buy you love, but in the Bronx, it appears that it can buy influence."

All of which raises renewed questions about the entire Gateway/BTM development. Certainly the Daily News' exposes are not the kind of transparency that we have been talking about for the past few months. It will be interesting to see the kind of impact all of this will have when the project comes to the City Council. As a NYPIRG spokesman told the News,
"It certainly raises serious questions," said Neal Rosenstein, government reform coordinator of the New York Public Interest Research Group. Why would they donate to a candidate that ostensibly had a position opposed to their own?" he said. "It's a disturbing pattern, and it invites additional scrutiny."
One thing that we do want to clarify, however, is the role of Councilmember Joel Rivera. Joel has been in the forefront of working on behalf of neighborhood stores. So much so that the National Supermarket Association gave him a "Man-of-The-Year” award and, in addition, the councilmember is the prime sponsor of the food waste disposer bill that will save stores millions of dollars a year in disposal costs.