Friday, March 24, 2006

One Burnt, Twice Burnt Again

In today’s Daily News Errol Louis has a scathingly accurate column on how the pols in the Bronx need to listen to their communities and not rubber stamp a highly problematic Yankee Stadium proposal:

But it's not clear that the Bronx's elected officials, each of whom has sworn to protect the interests of his constituents, did very much demanding at all. Shame on them all, especially Borough President Adolfo Carrion and the county's Democratic boss, Assemblyman Jose Rivera.

Dispensing with all pretense of protecting the public interest, Rivera has allowed one of his right-hand men, longtime Bronx fixer Stanley Schlein - who was on Rivera's Assembly staff throughout last year and doubles as the party's lawyer - to also collect a paycheck from the Yankees to goose the project along.

Carrion, who is busy trying to run for mayor, has his own conflicts of interest - he has collected $9,000 in contributions from Yankee executives so far - and has been roundly criticized for giving community organizations the big runaround. This week, for instance, neither Carrion nor anybody from his office - despite promises to the contrary - could find time to attend a forum on the pros and cons of the project held at the New York Foundation.
We must point out that the precedent for this type of development was set by the Bronx Terminal Market fiasco. What can we really expect from Bronx politicians who, for the most part, did not even raise an eyebrow when 23 merchants were exterminated to make way for a mall development that many agreed was one of the biggest sweetheart deals in recent memory. Unfortunately the BTM merchants were the canaries in the mine shaft, portending how unrepresentative Bronx politics can be.